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article imageEbola panic at Gatwick: Woman dies after Sierra Leone flight

By Kev Hedges     Aug 4, 2014 in World
Gatwick - Airport staff in London were on high alert on Saturday as a Gatwick-bound plane from Sierra Leone reported a passenger on board who was "sweating and vomiting."
The West African nation is currently in the grip of the Ebola virus, a deadly epidemic that has so far claimed 256 lives in Sierra Leone. More than 800 people across the most affected countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
The flight had departed from Freetown in Sierra Leone and stopped off in Banjul in The Gambia before flying straight on to Gatwick Airport on Saturday morning. The passenger, a 72 year old woman from Sierra Leone eventually collapsed and later died on the gangway as she disembarked from a Gambia Bird jet with 128 passengers and staff on board.
Fortunately, on Sunday night, after 39 hours of tests took place on the deceased woman, medical staff ruled out Ebola as the cause of her death. As well as paramedics arriving to help the woman, the gangway was filled with airfield operations staff, immigration control, emergency crews and a number of concerned officials.
The jet bridge was immediately shut down and the plane was in lock down and fully quarantined. Every person that was on the flight, including those who were refuelling the plane and manning the gangway gates had their full details taken.
Sierra Leone is the worst affected country since the Ebola outbreak took hold in the last two months but on Sunday, the Public Health Board of United Kingdom played down any fears of an outbreak in the UK:
Public Health England is aware a passenger arriving on a flight from The Gambia that landed at Gatwick airport on Saturday fell ill shortly after disembarking. The passenger was taken to hospital and sadly died.
In line with standard ­procedures, tests are being undertaken to determine the cause of death. The patient’s symptoms suggest that Ebola is very unlikely but as a precaution this is one of the tests being undertaken.
Meanwhile public health bodies in the UK have issued urgent warnings to British doctors and immigration officials to watch out for signs of the Ebola virus arriving in the UK.
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