Ebola virus

African detainee in Scotland tests negative after Ebola scare

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 16 August, 2014, 6:04pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 16 August, 2014, 6:04pm

A woman who fell ill at a deportation facility in Scotland has tested negative for the Ebola virus, health officials said on Saturday.

British media said the female detainee was in her 30s and from Sierra Leone, one of the countries worst affected by the west African Ebola outbreak.

She was being held at the Dungavel House centre south of Glasgow, which is used to house unsuccessful asylum seekers before they are deported from Britain. The facility has a capacity of up to 200 people.

She fell ill and was taken to hospital to undergo tests.

“The results of the viral haemorrhagic fever (Ebola) tests which have been carried out are negative,” said a spokesman for NHS (National Health Service) Lanarkshire, the local health authority.

“We can confirm that the patient does not have Ebola or another form of viral haemorrhagic fever.”

The Home Office had suspended the detention or release of detainees from Dungavel while the tests were conducted. Staff and visitors were still allowed in and out of the centre.

The Ebola outbreak has so far claimed more than 1,100 lives in Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia and Nigeria.

The medical charity MSF has said the outbreak is moving faster than aid organisations can handle while the World Health Organisation said the scale of the epidemic had been vastly underestimated.

The latest test in Scotland comes after an athlete from Sierra Leone, competing at the this year Commonwealth Games in Glasgow was tested and found to be clear of Ebola last month.

WATCH: What is the Ebola virus?

The MSF said earlier that the Ebola outbreak is moving faster than aid organisations can handle.

“It is deteriorating faster, and moving faster, than we can respond to,” MSF (Doctors Without Borders) chief Joanne Liu told reporters in Geneva, saying it could take six months to get the upper hand.

“It is like wartime,” she said a day after returning from the region where she met political leaders and visited clinics.

WHO said Thursday it was coordinating “a massive scaling up of the international response” to the epidemic.

As countries around the world stepped up measures to contain the disease, the International Olympics Committee said athletes from Ebola-hit countries had been barred from competing in pool events and combat sports at the Youth Olympics opening in China on Saturday.

The decision, which affects three unidentified athletes, was made “with regard to ensuring the safety of all those participating” in the Games in the city of Nanjing, the IOC and Chinese organisers said.

No cure or vaccine is currently available for Ebola, which the WHO has declared a global public health emergency.

It has also authorised the use of largely untested treatments in efforts to combat the disease.

Hard-hit nations are awaiting consignments of up to 1,000 doses of the barely tested drug ZMapp from the United States, which has raised hopes of saving hundreds.