Scottish Health Care Worker Diagnosed With Ebola

Person wearing protective Ebola gear
A student in Sierra Leone at an infection control workshop led by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Image credit: Daniel Martin | CDC)

A health care worker in Scotland has been diagnosed with Ebola, shortly after returning from treating patients with the disease in Sierra Leone, according to the National Health Service of the United Kingdom.

The patient is the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United Kingdom since an outbreak of the disease began in West Africa earlier this year.

Yesterday (Dec. 28), the patient flew from Sierra Leone to Casablanca, Morocco, then to London Heathrow Airport, and finally to Glasgow Airport on a British Airways flight, arriving in Scotland around 11:30 p.m., the NHS said. Early today (Dec. 29), the patient felt unwell, and was admitted to the hospital and placed in isolation at 7:50 a.m. local time. [2014 Ebola Outbreak: Full Coverage of the Viral Epidemic]

Because the patient was diagnosed in the early stages, the risk to the public is extremely low, according to the NHS.

Health officials are now investigating people who may have had contact with the patient while she had symptoms, and anyone at risk of developing the illness will be closely monitored.

“Scotland has been preparing for this possibility from the beginning of the outbreak in West Africa and I am confident that we are well prepared," Nicola Sturgeon, first minister of Scotland, said in a statement.

Follow Rachael Rettner @RachaelRettner. Follow Live Science @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Original article on Live Science.

Rachael Rettner

Rachael is a Live Science contributor, and was a former channel editor and senior writer for Live Science between 2010 and 2022. She has a master's degree in journalism from New York University's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program. She also holds a B.S. in molecular biology and an M.S. in biology from the University of California, San Diego. Her work has appeared in Scienceline, The Washington Post and Scientific American.