Scottish nurse survives record viral load of Ebola — at a cost

British nurse Pauline Cafferkey. (UK Pool via Reuters)

A Scottish nurse who contracted Ebola while working in Sierra Leone is now officially “Ebola negative,” but weakness in her leg caused by the virus means that she may never run again. Pauline Cafferkey, 40, from Cambuslang, South Lanarkshire revealed to Radio Scotland’s Stephen Jardine that her case had the highest viral load of Ebola ever recorded in a survivor. And while her health had improved in “leaps and bounds in the past few months,” she added that she still has “pins and needles and numbness over various parts of my body,” as well as “swelling at the base of my spine, which is very painful.” Worst of all, however, was the weakness in her leg, which she said had not improved at all. “I don’t think I’ll be able to run again,” she admitted.

Cafferkey was working at the Kerry Town Ebola treatment center in Sierra Leone when she contracted the virus, and spent almost a month in isolation at the Royal Free Hospital in London after the virus was detected upon her arrival back in the U.K. in early 2015. Cafferkey was discharged and returned to work in South Lanarkshire in March 2015, but in October last year they discovered that Ebola was still present in her body. Making matters worse, the virus had caused meningitis, a swelling of the membranes that protect the brain and spinal cord. She had to go for treatment a third time following a relapse in February, but was able to be discharged later that month.

Read the full story at BBC News.


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