Ebola scare closes unit at Bognor Regis hospital

A SCARE about a potential ebola case caused part of the hospital in Bognor Regis to be closed.

Medical experts decided to temporarily shut the minor injuries unit at the town’s war memorial hospital when a patient was seen with a potentially infectious disease.

The closure lasted for nearly two and a half hours while tests were carried out.

A spokesman for Sussex Community NHS Trust, which runs the hospital on Shripney Road, said: “A patient arrived at Bognor Regis minor injuries unit with a potentially infectious illness. The unit was temporarily closed following infection control good practice.

“It was re-opened following advice from Public Health England and is now operating as normal.”

A Public Health England spokeswoman said: “PHE can confirm it has not received a sample for precautionary ebola testing.

“NHS colleagues around the country use our expert guidance to assess patients. In many cases, this will lead them not to request an Ebola test because the criteria for test are not met – for example, the patient has not visited the affected countries or is not displaying relevant symptoms.”

The emergency occurred last Thursday (April 16) at 9.30am and lasted until 11.50am.

Neither organisation would provide further details because of patient confidentiality.

The NHS Choices website states: “Ebola virus disease is a serious illness that originated in Africa, where there is currently an outbreak. But for people living in countries outside Africa, it continues to be a very low threat.

“The current outbreak of the ebola virus mainly affects three countries in West Africa: Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Around 24,701 cases and more than 10,000 deaths have been reported by the World Health Organization. This is the largest known outbreak of ebola.

“Experts studying the virus believe it is highly unlikely the disease would spread within the UK.

“A person infected with ebola virus will typically develop a fever, headache, joint and muscle pain, a sore throat, and intense muscle weakness.

“These symptoms start suddenly, between two and 21 days after becoming infected.

“People can become infected with the ebola virus if they come into contact with the blood, body fluids or organs of an infected person.

“Most people are infected by giving care to other infected people, either by directly touching the victim’s body or by cleaning up body fluids (stools, urine or vomit) that carry infectious blood.”