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Scotland's first confirmed Ebola patient being treated in Glasgow

Scotland's first confirmed Ebola patient being treated in Glasgow
Healthcare workers load a man suspected of contracting the Ebola virus into an ambulance in Kenema, Sierra Leone, on Sept. 24. (Tanya Bindra / Associated Press)

A healthcare worker who just returned from helping to fight the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has been confirmed as Scotland's first case of the disease, officials said Monday.

The patient, a woman not identified by name, is being treated at the Gartnavel Hospital in Glasgow, according to the Scottish government.

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The woman arrived in Glasgow from Sierra Leone about 11:30 p.m. Sunday, officials said. According to England's National Health Service, she left Sierra Leone on Sunday, traveling on two Royal Air Maroc flights to Casablanca, Morocco, and on to London's Heathrow Airport.

She then took a British Airways flight to Glasgow.

The woman called health officials early Monday morning and reported feeling sick, said Scotland's first minister, Nicola Sturgeon. She was transported by ambulance to a hospital, where she was admitted and isolated.

Doctors told reporters that she is stable and that her prognosis is good.

The patient was diagnosed with Ebola in "the very early stages of the illness," Sturgeon said at a news conference. She had not exhibited any symptoms of Ebola during her travel, making it unlikely that she infected others.

As a precaution, health officials in Scotland are tracking down the 71 passengers said to have been on the London-to-Glasgow flight. Officials in England will also be contacting all passengers on the Casablanca-to-London flight, but they did not say how many were on that plane.

Some of the passengers sitting closest to the woman may be monitored for symptoms as a precaution, health officials said.

Aside from those travelers, Sturgeon said, the woman had come into contact with only one person since arriving in Scotland.

Officials said they plan to transfer the patient to an isolation unit at the Royal Free Hospital in London as soon as possible.

"Scotland has been preparing for this possibility from the beginning of the outbreak in West Africa and I am confident that we are well prepared," Sturgeon said in a statement.

Officials have set up a hotline for passengers who were on the same flights as the Ebola patient, but they said the risk to those travelers is "extremely low."

In a statement, British Airways said it is working closely with health authorities in England and Scotland.

"The safety and security of our customers and crew is always our top priority, and the risk to people on board that individual flight is extremely low," the airline said.

The Ebola virus is believed to have killed more than 7,500 people and infected nearly 20,000 during the current outbreak in West Africa.

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The United States and Spain are among the nations that have had confirmed cases. The Glasgow patient is the first confirmed case to be diagnosed in Britain, though a Briton diagnosed in Sierra Leone was later treated in London.

For more breaking news, follow me @cmaiduc.

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