A Scottish nurse who suffered massive complications in her brain after recovering from Ebola was released this weekend.
Though the global Ebola crisis has largely fallen from the headlines, the fact remains that the disease is not something you want to mess with. According to a report from Reuters, a Scottish nurse who recovered from Ebola was just discharged from the hospital for the second time after suffering life-threatening complications related to the disease.
Pauline Cafferkey was not infectious, as Ebola can only be spread through direct contact with bodily fluids like blood, said officials at the Royal Free Hospital. The nurse contracted Ebola in the winter of 2014 as she was serving as a volunteer in a treatment facility in Sierra Leone, one of the nations hit the hardest by the recent Ebola outbreak. The disease spread rapidly throughout multiple countries in West Africa, killing thousands.
Cafferkey was transferred from Sierra Leone to Britain before she recovered from the Ebola hemorrhagic fever and returned home to Scotland. All was well, or so doctors thought. Cafferkey began to feel ill again in October, and doctors discovered that the virus remained in some tissues within her brain. Experts later diagnosed the nurse with meningitis caused by the Ebola virus, the first recorded case in history.
The nurse last left the Royal Free Hospital in November, but had to return for treatment surrounding the recently discovered complications related to the disease. 40-year-old Cafferkey is now feeling much better, but doctors want to keep a close eye on the curious case. If Ebola can persist in brain tissues after the virus has otherwise left the body, we could be looking at something with the potential to cause outbreaks even more serious than the ones we’ve seen so far.
A press release describing Cafferkey’s long battle with Ebola can be found here.