Australia holds breath as woman is tested for Ebola

2014-10-09 14:06
(File, AFP)

(File, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Sydney - An Australian woman was being assessed on Thursday for Ebola after developing a fever following her return from a month working with patients of the virus in Sierra Leone, officials said.

Queensland state chief health officer Jeanette Young said the 57-year-old volunteer Red Cross nurse developed a "low-grade fever" on Thursday morning and went to Cairns Hospital, where she was put into isolation.

Blood was taken from her and sent to Brisbane by plane for testing, with results expected on Friday.

"There is the potential there so that's why we're treating this so seriously," Young said, adding that the woman reported that while in Sierra Leone she wore protective equipment at all times.

"We don't know whether she has that [Ebola] but she's been exposed to people with the disease while working in Sierra Leone and she now has a low-grade fever."

Australia has seen a handful of people displaying symptoms of Ebola following trips to Africa, but none have so far proved positive.

Killer disease

The woman, named as Sue-Ellen Kovack by local media, returned to Australia at the weekend and had been in home isolation since.

This is in line with government policy that anyone who may have had contact with Ebola patients must abide by a 21-day incubation period at home alone.

"She's done everything appropriately. She's come back into the country, she was perfectly well at that time, she had no symptoms, no fever," said Young.

"It's only since this morning that she's had low-grade fever. She has not been out in the community in Cairns, she's been at home isolated, resting herself.

"There's no need for any community concern at all."

The world's largest outbreak of Ebola has killed 3 865 people out of 8 033 infected so far this year, mainly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, according to the World Health Organisation's latest count.

The spill over of the virus - with the first death in US and the first case of infection in Spain - has raised fears of contagion in the West.

Earlier on Thursday, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the country was doing all it could to prevent the disease from breaching its borders.

"It's not impossible that it will come here, but what we're doing at the moment is we're carefully monitoring everyone coming to this country who's been in West Africa," he said.

"In every state, public hospitals have been prepared to deal with Ebola cases should we get any."

Read more on:    australia  |  ebola  |  health

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.