A British nurse who had been treating victims of the Ebola virus in West Africa has been infected.
On Sunday William Pooley, 29, from Eyke in Suffolk was evacuated from Sierra Leone using a specially-adapted RAF jet.
He is being kept in a special isolation unit at Hampstead’s Royal Free Hospital. Pooley’s colleagues have described him as a “hero” and an “extraordinary guy”.
Pooley had been providing palliative care for non-Ebola patients, before deciding to move to a hospital to work with people with the virus. In a recent interview he said he was aware of the risks, but determined to help.
The latest figures show that the Ebola outbreak in Africa has claimed almost 1,500 lives, and has been described as an “international health emergency”.
The virus, which has no known cure, has a 90% fatality rate.
Dr Oliver Johnson, who worked with Pooley on the Ebola treatment ward at the Kenema Government Hospital in Sierra Leone said: “For those of us working with Ebola patients in Sierra Leone he stood out as being particularly brave.
“Really from the beginning he was determined to help in any way he could.”
On Sunday his family issued a statement: “We would like to thank all our family and friends for their best wishes and ask everyone to remember those in other parts of the world suffering with Ebola who do not have access to the same healthcare facilities as Will.”
The World Health Organization has estimated 2,615 people in West Africa have been infected with Ebola since March.
Healthcare officials have reassured the public that Pooley is not a threat to the general public.
David Mabey, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told the Independent that the first Briton conformed to have the virus is “in a plastic tent with its own air supply”.
Everything that comes out of the tent is incinerated and it has its own separate entrance, he added.
Dr Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said: “William Pooley demonstrated incredible bravery and commitment in volunteering to provide nursing care in Sierra Leone for those with Ebola, and we wish him a speedy recovery.
“The dedication of frontline health care workers like William is essential for containing the spread of this virus. The risks they face are considerable but they are doing the best they can for their patients.”