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UK will not screen for Ebola cases

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Public Health England (PHE) has announced that travellers to the UK will not be screened for the Ebola virus.

The announcement follows the first recorded transmission of the disease outside of West Africa, after a nurse in Spain tested positive for Ebola. As of 3 October, the current outbreak in West Africa had caused 3431 deaths out of 7470 cases.

PHE's decision followed the WHO's assertion that entry screening was unnecessary in the UK. Instead, the organisation has recommended that affected countries carry out exit screening on international travellers. PHE said that the threat of Ebola presenting in the UK remained low, and that the NHS systems for managing unusual infectious diseases are permanently active.

Dr Paul Cosford, director of health protection at PHE, said: 'PHE continues to keep border staff and medical practitioners informed, and requests they remain vigilant for unexplained illness in those who have visited these areas in West Africa. As part of contingency preparations, PHE has provided primary care and hospital healthcare workers with the latest information about the outbreak and actions to take in the event of a possible case.'

Symptoms of the virus include nausea, headaches and external bleeding. PHE and the RCN have advised primary care nurses to be aware of the disease in recent travellers to West Africa. It is vital to contact a local health protection team or PHE if a case of Ebola is suspected.

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