LONDON – The British Ebola victim, a 29-year-old male nurse named as William Pooley, has begun his treatment, London’s Royal Free Hospital confirmed in a statement on Monday.
Pooley’s family praised the effort by the hospital, saying that he is “receiving excellent care”.
The patient was evacuated back to London Sunday night, after he had been diagnosed with the Ebola virus disease in Sierra Leone, where he volunteered to care for Ebola patients.
After his arrival, the Royal Free hospital confirmed that Pooley “is being treated for Ebola at the high level isolation unit (HLIU)” at the hospital.
According to the hospital, the HLIU is the only one of its kind in Britain, which is designed to ensure the medical staff can safely treat a patient with a dangerous infectious disease.
A specially-designed tent with controlled ventilation is set up around the patient’s bed and allows the staff to provide clinical care while containing the infection.
There are various facilities in the HLIU, including a specific entrance for the patient, autoclaves which decontaminate waste and a dedicated laboratory for carrying out tests. All the air leaving the unit is cleaned so there is no risk to anyone at the hospital, according to the hospital.
In a statement on Monday, Pooley’s family thanked those involved in transporting him back to Britain, saying “Will is receiving excellent care at the Royal Free Hospital and we could not ask for him to be in a better place.”
“We would like to thank all our family and friends for their best wishes and ask everyone to remember those in other parts of the world suffering with Ebola who do not have access to the same healthcare facilities as Will,” said the family.
According to the World Health Organization, the Ebola virus is spread through contact with bodily fluids, people giving care or working around infected patients are known to be a high-risk group.
As of Aug. 20, the total number of cases attributed to the Ebola virus disease in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone has reached 2,615, including 1,427 deaths.