First Ebola case confirmed in Scotland

A healthcare worker who returned from treating Ebola patients in West Africa tested positive for the disease, Scottish officials said Monday. She is the country’s first confirmed Ebola patient.

Traveling to Scotland on a British Airways flight late Sunday night, the patient fell ill by Monday morning, according to a statement from the Scottish government. The patient was then admitted to and isolated at the Gartnavel General Hospital in Glasgow, where she was diagnosed with the deadly disease.

The patient had layovers in Casablanca and London before arriving in Glasgow, officials said.

“Having been diagnosed in the very early stages of the illness, the risk to others is considered extremely low,” the statement read, adding that “all possible contacts” with the patient have been contacted and anyone considered at risk will be “closely monitored.”

Officials said the patient will be transferred to a high-level isolation unit at the Royal Free hospital in London as soon as possible.

“Scotland has been preparing for this possibility from the beginning of the outbreak in West Africa,” Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said, “and I am confident that we are well prepared.”

According to the World Health Organization’s latest numbers, Ebola has claimed more than 7,800 lives, with about 20,000 people testing positive for the disease. Most of the deaths have occurred in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Senegal, Nigeria and Spain were all declared Ebola-free the past few weeks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

The last known U.S. case was declared “free of the virus” in November. And if Mali doesn’t record any new Ebola cases, it could be declared free of the disease on Jan. 18, the WHO said.