The Ebola outbreak currently spreading death and terror throughout West Africa was feared to have hit the U.K. Saturday, after a flight coming from Sierra Leone carried a woman who was stricken with a violent illness on the plane, vomiting and sweating profusely, and then collapsed soon after landing at London's Gatwick Airport.
The woman later died at East Surrey Hospital in Redhill, Surrey, south of London.
Victim Tested For Ebola, But Tests Prove NegativeOn Sunday, doctors at the hospital later conducted a test on the deceased woman to see if she had died of Ebola — but the test proved negative. The Ebola outbreak scare in London was deemed a false alarm.
The woman, whose name has not yet been released, was reported to be 72 years old. Her flight arrived in London on a direct route from a stopover in Gambia, but originated in Freetown, Sierra Leone, the country with the highest number of Ebola cases in the current outbreak.
West Africa Ebola Death Toll Now Reported To be 826As of Sunday, the total death toll from the Ebola outbreak, concentrated mainly in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea, where the outbreak began, stood at 826. That number of deaths is more than twice the death toll of the Ebola outbreak in Uganda 14 years ago, which at the time was history's worst and killed 425 people.
Sierra Leone on Saturday declared a national state of emergency in an attempt to control the seemingly uncontrollable spread of the Ebola virus.
British health officials said that based on the woman's symptoms, they found it unlikely that she was sick with Ebola. But they conducted the test on her body to be certain.
No Health Risk To Public, British Officials SayShe arrived at Gatwick Airport at 8:15 am Saturday morning on a Gambia Bird Airlines jet carrying 128 passengers. After the woman was taken off the plane and into an ambulance, the aircraft was held on the runway tarmac and the names of all passengers were recorded by health officials.
"There was no health risk to other passengers or crew, as the passenger did not have symptoms during the flight," said Public Health England doctor Brian McCloskey. "The correct procedures were followed to confirm there was no reason to quarantine the airplane, the passengers or staff. PHE can confirm there was no public health risk around the sad death of this individual."
60 Health Workers Now Dead Trying To Save Ebola VictimsAmong the Ebola fatalities in West Africa, 60 health workers have died treating and attempting to save Ebola patients, World Health Organization Director General Margaret Chan revealed at an emergency WHO meeting Friday.
Also on Friday, an athlete from Sierra Leone competing in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, was taken ill and tested for Ebola, but that test also proved negative.