A British national in Sierra Leone has tested positive for Ebola, the Department of Health in London said Saturday, the first person from the country to have contracted the virus in a recent, devastating outbreak.
Officials in London added that they were providing consular assistance to the person, who has not been officially identified.
But Britain’s Mail on Sunday newspaper reported that the infected man is a medic working for a charity in Sierra Leone.
He was reportedly set to be flown back to Britain for treatment in the next couple of days. Britain’s Department of Health did not immediately respond to a request to confirm the report.
Professor John Watson, deputy chief medical officer, stressed that the risk posed by Ebola to people living in Britain “continues to be very low”.
“Medical experts are currently assessing the situation in Sierra Leone to ensure that appropriate care is provided,” he added.
“We have robust, well-developed and well-tested NHS (National Health Service) systems for managing unusual infectious diseases when they arise, supported by a wide range of experts.”
Ebola has spread through Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, while Nigeria has also been affected, killing a total of 1,427 people since March.
No cure or vaccine is currently available for the virus, which is spread by close contact with body fluids. AFP