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British Ebola nurse ‘concealed temperature’ on return from Sierra Leone

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A Scottish nurse who contracted then recovered from Ebola is facing disciplinary action over allegations she concealed her temperature on her return from Sierra Leone, according to charges from a nursing watchdog seen by British media.

Pauline Cafferkey, 39, contracted Ebola in December 2014 when she was working in a treatment facility in Sierra Leone at the height of the epidemic which swept through West Africa.

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The nurse is alleged to have given dishonest answers to medical staff when she returned to Heathrow airport that month.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) alleged in a case hearing published on their website that was later deleted, that Cafferkey “allowed an incorrect temperature to be recorded” on December 29, 2014 and intended to conceal from Public Health England staff that she had a temperature higher than 38C.

The NMC said an investigation into Cafferkey’s conduct was underway, with a case hearing scheduled for next month.

“Since these proceedings began the NMC has worked closely with Ms Cafferkey and her representatives to reach an outcome that is fair and meets the public interest in this case,” an NMC spokesperson said.

Cafferkey initially recovered from the Ebola hemorrhagic fever and was sent home in January 2015.

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But in October she fell ill again and doctors found the virus was persisting in tissues in her brain. They later said she had developed meningitis caused by the Ebola virus – the first known such case.

Cafferkey was readmitted to hospital for a third time earlier this year after falling ill.

Ebola killed more than 11,300 people and infected some 28,600 as it swept through Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea from 2013 in the world’s worst outbreak of the disease.

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The World Health Organization declared Sierra Leone free of the deadly haemorrhagic fever on March 17, Guinea on June 1, and Liberia on June 9.

(Reporting By Kieran Guilbert, Editing by Ros Russell; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit news.trust.org)

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