Healthcare workers have been told to “remain vigilant” about the threat of possible Ebola cases being imported to the UK.
According to the medical director of Public Health England it is “unlikely but not impossible” that travellers infected in West Africa could develop symptoms on their return.
The Ebola virus has killed more than 670 people in West Africa, the biggest known outbreak of this disease. The BBC reports that several West African airlines have stopped flights from Liberia and Sierra Leone amid concerns of the disease spreading from Guinea, where there are currently more than 1,000 confirmed cases.
An infected American man of Liberian descent flew from Liberia to Nigeria last week. He developed symptoms on the flight.
Dr Ben Neuman, a virologist at Reading University said the chance of the disease spreading in the UK is “very, very small”.
However, anyone showing signs of fever who has visited the area would be quarantined and treated in containment facilities if the infection were confirmed.
Early symptoms of Ebola include fever, headaches, joint and muscle pain and lack of appetite.
Later symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach pain, a rash and internal and external bleeding – often from the eyes, nose or mouth.
Ebola does not currently have a cure, nor a vaccine. The only treatment is to keep the patient hydrated.