Scottish nurse Pauline Cafferkey, who was hailed as a hero for treating Ebola patients in West Africa, is now critically ill with the deadly virus after beating it earlier this year.
Cafferkey, 39, is being treated in an isolation tent at the Royal Free hospital in London, the same facility where she recovered from Ebola in January after falling ill on her way home from Sierra Leone.
Cafferkey is seen here being transported to Royal Free last December:
“We are sad to announce that Pauline Cafferkey’s condition has deteriorated and she is now critically ill. Pauline is being treated for Ebola in the high-level isolation unity at the Royal Free hospital,” the medical center said in a statement.
The volunteer nurse was admitted last week in serious condition, after being transferred from Queen Elizabeth University in Glasgow, but her health steadily declined.
Doctors in Scotland initially failed to recognize that Cafferkey was suffering from a resurgence of the virus when she complained of feeling sick.
The National Health Service nurse made headlines last December when she became Britain’s first Ebola victim. She had been treating patients in Sierra Leone as part of a NHS volunteer team dispatched by Save the Children.
She began to feel sick on the international flight home and was later diagnosed with Ebola. She rallied within a few weeks and was released from the hospital.
Cafferkey is the first known Ebola victim to suffer a resurgence of the virus, though the African epidemic could have claimed similar victims without them being documented, The Guardian reported.
Britain’s health service said it had identified 58 people who had recent contact with Cafferkey. They are being monitored and have been offered a vaccine, the NHS said in a statement.
Nearly 500 health care workers have died from Ebola after treating patients in the West African epidemic, according to the World Health Organization.
Cafferkey is the ony victim from Britain. Four U.S. citizens contracted the virus in West Africa, with one fatality among them.