Eyke: Nurse who contracted Ebola in Sierra Leone, William Pooley, might go back to Africa to help fight the virus’ outbreak
- Credit: PA
The Suffolk nurse who survived Ebola has hinted he could return to the country where he contracted the virus to help fight the outbreak.
Sierra Leone is among several West African countries in the grip of the deadly virus and William Pooley was working with patients when he became ill himself.
The volunteer nurse, 29, was flown back to the UK for treatment in a special unit at the Royal Free Hospital in north London with experimental drug ZMapp and has since been given the all-clear and discharged.
But in an interview with the Guardian Mr Pooley suggested both the UK and US governments should do more to tackle the epidemic and admitted he has considered travelling back out there.
He said: “It’s a global problem and it needs global-level leadership so Obama and Cameron ... need to show some more leadership on this issue.
“Sierra Leone needs lots of international healthcare workers working with big NGOs like MSF and Red Cross. All of that needs to be increased.
“So while I’m happy to be recovered and alive, there’s a lot of stuff on my mind with what’s going on back there. It would be relatively safe for me to go back and work there ... It’s the least I could do to go back and return the favour to some other people, even just for a little while.”
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So far in Sierra Leone the outbreak has claimed 509 lives, according to the latest World Health Organisation figures, while including other affected countries Liberia and Guinea, the total number of victims has reached 2,288.
There is no cure for Ebola and the latest outbreak has a survival rate of 47% but hopes have been raised by the success of ZMapp in Mr Pooley’s case and also in trials on monkeys.
The UK has responded to calls from the WHO and Sierra Leone government with plans to send military personnel and aid experts to set up a 62-bed treatment centre near the country’s capital Freetown.
International Development Secretary Justine Greening said: “Britain is at the forefront of the global effort to tackle this deadly outbreak, having already committed £25 million of support, including frontline treatment and funding for medical research to develop a vaccine.
“The scale of the problem requires the entire international community to do more to assist the affected countries.”