GPs warned to 'remain vigilant' for Ebola symptoms

GPs should remain alert to symptoms of Ebola in patients returning from West Africa, where an outbreak has claimed more than 650 lives, say public health officials.

Ebola virus: public health officials urged GPs to be on the lookout for the disease (Pic: SPL)
Ebola virus: public health officials urged GPs to be on the lookout for the disease (Pic: SPL)

Public Health England said it was monitoring the situation and had alerted medical practitioners in the UK to watch out for 'unexplained illness' in people returning from the affected area.

Over 1,000 cases of Ebola have been reported in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since February amid the largest known outbreak of the disease.

Dr Brian McCloskey, director of global health at Public Health England, said: 'The risk to UK travellers and people working in these countries of contracting Ebola is very low but we have alerted UK medical practitioners about the situation in West Africa and requested they remain vigilant for unexplained illness in those who have visited the affected area.

'People who have returned from affected areas who have a sudden onset of symptoms such as fever, headache, sore throat and general malaise within three weeks of their return should immediately seek medical assistance.'

Dr Paul Cosford, director for health protection at Public Health England said: 'As we have seen with Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome, we have robust mechanisms in place for detecting and responding to any usual infections within the UK.

'It is important to stress that no cases of imported Ebola have ever been reported in the UK, and the risk of any traveller to West Africa contracting Ebola is very low without direct contact with the blood or body fluids of an infected person.'

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