A possible case of Ebola has been investigated at Colchester Hospital

A possible case of Ebola has been investigated at Colchester Hospital

In a statement, Colchester Hospital said a clinical area had been temporarily closed “due to an infection control issue”, but the center was operational as of 7am.

“Thank you to all of our patients and staff for their support yesterday afternoon when we had to temporarily close a clinical area at Colchester Hospital, the Emergency Treatment Centre, to new patients. This was due to a infection control issue. The center is now fully open,” the hospital said.

Dr Meera Chand, Director of Clinical and Emerging Infections at UKHSA, added: “People who have recently traveled and report illness are regularly assessed by NHS clinicians for a variety of infectious diseases.”

Alongside Ebola, the patient is believed to be tested for several other haemorrhagic fevers – including Lassa fever and Crimean Congo haemorrhagic fever, which were detected in Britain in February and March respectively.

The Telegraph understands it will take a few days for test results to arrive.

Fears spread undetected

Ebola – which spreads through bodily fluids – was first detected in Uganda at the end of September. Since then, 163 confirmed and suspected cases have been identified in nine regions, including 77 deaths – including six healthcare workers.

This weekend, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said the infection rate was slowing – although three cases with no known links to known patients emerged in an area 150 miles from the epicentre, suggesting the virus could spread spread undetected.

The outbreak was caused by a relatively rare type of Ebola virus, known as the Sudan strain, which has not been recorded since 2012.

Although there are now vaccines to combat the more common strain from Zaire, which have been instrumental in stopping several recent outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of Congo, these do not work against the spreading virus. currently in Uganda.

Health authorities are now racing to roll out trials of three candidate vaccines – including one developed by the University of Oxford, using the same technology as their Covid-19 jab. On Wednesday, the World Health Organization announced that the experimental vaccines will arrive in Uganda next week.

People infected with the Ebola virus do not become contagious until symptoms appear, ie after an incubation period of 2 to 21 days.

The virus is less contagious than Covid-19 and instead spreads through contact with the blood, bodily fluids or organs of an infected person or animal. The main symptoms are fever, vomiting, bleeding and diarrhea.

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