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Saturday, 20 May 2006 10:31
BNN: British Nursing News Online · www.bnn-online.co.uk
WOMAN COULD HAVE DIED FROM THE DEADLY AND CONTAGIOUS EBOLA VIRUS
A woman is feared to have died from the deadly and contagious ebola virus after she arrived in London on a flight from Africa.

Panic has spread among cabin crew and hospital staff after the death of the 38-year-old unnamed woman.

The woman was on the Virgin Atlantic flight VS602 from Johannesburg. It is understood she worked at an embassy in Lesotho.

She had visited a doctor before the flight complaining of flu symptoms and was told she could fly.

But during the trip, she suffered a fit that knocked her unconscious.

Cabin crew and passengers passed her drinks and did all they could to help. At around 3am, she started to vomit heavily and began bleeding.

When the Airbus A340-600, carrying 249 passengers and 18 crew, touched down at 7am she was rushed to nearby Hillingdon Hospital.

Hospital staff treated her as if she had ebola as her symptoms matched those of the virus. She died in hospital.

Cabin crew who came into contact with the woman have been told to monitor their health over the next week.

A hospital spokesman said: "A patient was brought to our accident and emergency department on May 19 after falling ill on a flight to Heathrow.

"As a precautionary measure, the patient was initially treated as if infectious. Tests are still ongoing to establish the nature of the illness".

A Virgin spokeswoman said: "We can confirm that a female passenger taken ill on flight VS602 subsequently died at Hillingdon Hospital.

"Virgin Atlantic would like to extend our sympathies to the family and friends of the passenger".

One cabin crew member said: "Those people who came into contact with the dead woman are terrified at what might have been caught”.

The virus is transmitted by direct contact with infected body fluids. There is limited evidence of human-to-human airborne transmission.


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