Royal on standby for Ebola cases

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Royal Liverpool University Hospital. Pic © Chowells / Wikipedia / Creative Commons

Royal Liverpool University Hospital. Pic © Chowells / Wikipedia / Creative Commons

The Royal in Liverpool is one of four hospitals in the UK now on standby in preparation for a potential Ebola outbreak in this country.

A contingency plan put in place by NHS England has the Royal Liverpool University Hospital building earmarked to receive UK Ebola victims if they are found to have the killer virus.

Medical centres in London, Sheffield and Newcastle make up the rest of the quartet, and while some locals may be alarmed at the prospect of Liverpool possibly hosting Ebola victims, medical officials insist there is no cause for fear.

Dr Nick Beeching, clinical director of the Tropical and Infectious Diseases Unit at the Royal Liverpool Hospital, said: “There is no risk to the general public and anybody coming to the Royal as a patient or visitor should not be concerned.”

He explained: “Our specialist infectious disease unit is among those on standby to assist the Royal Free Hospital [London] in managing patients with Ebola, should the need arise.

“This is in line with long-standing national contingency plans to manage infectious diseases like Ebola. Whilst we are planning for this possibility, we do not currently expect to care for any patients with confirmed Ebola.”

If cases do emerge, the NHS plans to take any patients to the UK’s only specialist High Isolation Unit in the Royal Free Hospital in north London, where British nurse Will Pooley – who contracted Ebola whilst working in Sierra Leone – was treated and recovered from the disease after receiving the experimental drug ZMapp.

The growing epidemic has raised an alert in Europe after a Spanish nurse became the first person known to have contracted the potentially deadly virus outside of West Africa.

According to the NHS website, the Ebola virus is a “serious, usually fatal, disease, for which there are no licensed treatments or vaccines” and it was first discovered in Africa in the mid-1970s before the biggest outbreak began in March 2014. It has killed more than 3,000 people in places across Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.

The work continues to help keep Ebola under control and to prevent it from spreading.

The UK is sending out 750 troops to help combat the disease in Sierra Leone, along with a hospital ship, RFA Argus, which is currenly in the Irish Sea off Liverpool Bay.

About Kaltun Abdillahi, JMU Journalism