Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 8°C

min temp: 7°C


Suffolk: British volunteer nurse, William Pooley, who contracted deadly Ebola in Sierra Leone is from Eyke

07:48 25 August 2014

Liberian soldiers scan people for signs of the Ebola virus, as they control people from entering the West Point area in the city of Monrovia, Liberia, at the weekend. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)

Liberian soldiers scan people for signs of the Ebola virus, as they control people from entering the West Point area in the city of Monrovia, Liberia, at the weekend. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)

A British volunteer nurse who contracted deadly Ebola in Sierra Leone is from Eyke, near Woodbridge, it has emerged.

The high level isolation area in the high secure infectious disease unit at The Royal Free Hospital, London. Photo: Jonathan Brady/PA WireThe high level isolation area in the high secure infectious disease unit at The Royal Free Hospital, London. Photo: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

William Pooley, 29, is being treated at a specialist hospital after being evacuated to the UK.

He was named by Dr Robert Garry, an American scientist who worked at the same hospital as him in the west Africa country.

It is the first confirmed case of a Briton contracting the virus during the recent outbreak.

There is no cure for Ebola and outbreaks have a fatality rate of up to 90%.

Mr Pooley tested positive for Ebola after treating patients suffering from the virus at Kenema Government Hospital (KGH) in the south-east of Sierra Leone.

He was airlifted to the UK on a specially equipped C17 Royal Air Force jet, landing at RAF Northolt in west London at 9pm. He was then transported to the UK’s only high level isolation unit at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead, north London.

The Department of Health said he was not “seriously unwell”. Health chiefs insisted that the risk to the British public from Ebola is “very low”.

Dr Garry, of Tulane University in New Orleans, US, has worked at KGH for around a decade on a virus research project.

He said he was told by a university colleague that the test results for Mr Pooley were received in the early hours of Saturday morning.

“They worked as hard as they could, as fast as humanly possible to make these arrangements,” he said.

“Of course they were wanting to make sure that he got the best care possible. It was kind of a remarkable turnaround, barely over 24 hours (later) he was heading towards that plane.”

Mr Pooley was working at a hospice in the capital Freetown but moved to Kenema when he heard that other healthcare workers at KGH had died from Ebola.

In an interview with a blogger for published earlier this month, he is reported to have said: “It’s the easiest situation in the world to make a difference.

“I’m not particularly experienced or skilled, but I can do the job and I am actually helping.”

Dr Garry paid tribute to Mr Pooley’s decision to treat Ebola sufferers.

“It’s a very honourable thing. He saw the need. He read about our nurses who were unfortunately dying there and took it on himself to come over and volunteer and learned how to be as safe as he could.

“But when you work hard like that, when you put in so many hours, you’re going to make a mistake and unfortunately that seems to have happened in this case.

“I just hope the best for him, that he can get the best treatment he can get.

“He’s a young man, he’s got a good chance. It was caught early.”

Mr Pooley’s bed at the Royal Free Hospital is surrounded by a specially-designed tent with its own controlled ventilation system. Only specially-trained medical staff are allowed inside the unit.

Professor John Watson, deputy chief medical officer, insisted that “the overall risk to the public in the UK remains very low”.

He said: “We have robust, well-developed and well-tested NHS systems for managing unusual infectious diseases when they arise, supported by a wide range of experts.

“UK hospitals have a proven record of dealing with imported infectious diseases and this patient will be isolated and will receive the best care possible.”

Dr Paul Cosford, director for health protection at Public Health England, said protective measures would be strictly maintained to avoid the virus being transmitted to staff transporting the patient and healthcare workers in the UK.

He added: “For Ebola to be transmitted from one person to another contact with blood or other body fluids is needed and as such, the risk to the general population remains very low.”

Dr Bob Winter, national clinical director for emergency preparedness and critical care for NHS England, said preparations have been made over the past few weeks to ensure any patient being repatriated to the UK receives the best possible care.

If you know Mr Pooley and would like to get in contact call the newsteam on 01473 324802 or email



  • My only concern which is a valid and reasonable point, is as to whether we should be letting people with serious illness back home till they are well. We have all seen the sci fi movies where something innocent creates a pandemic. Get well soon.

    Report this comment

    Lee Davies

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014

  • omg dude!! wicked, helping others!! Jes stay in that tent and don't come near me when your out, bro!! Piece and love! Piece and love!!

    Report this comment

    Roger RamsBottom

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014

  • William Pooley is a brave man, a hero, and his family are rightly proud of him. Here's wishing him a full recovery.

    Report this comment


    Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

The Buttermarket Centre will become a £35m pleasure palace

Excitement is building as Ipswich prepares to welcome a string of big-name restaurants as part of the Buttermarket makeover.

It's been a busy day in Ipswich

All the news from a busy day in Ipswich in video form, including the closure of Marks and Spencer, station revamp and sport.

Felixstowe Beach Station not long before demolition in 2004.

Investigations are under way following clearance work at the former site of a historic railway station.

How well do you know your cars?

Test your knowledge in our car photo quiz and see if you can identify which car is which from just one small feature.

Company director spared jail

A Suffolk company director who crushed a worker to death was spared jail by a judge at Norwich Crown Court today.

The fire service cordons off an area near Marks and Spencer in Westgate Street where UK Power Networks works to find a  carbon monoxide leak

Marks & Spencer in Ipswich town centre was closed for most of the day after a carbon monoxide leak was detected.

Stores in Ipswich ready for Black Friday.

Black Friday is nearly upon us and it is set to kick off the busiest Christmas online shopping periods.

Foundation Street, Ipswich, around a century ago. Little remains of the ancient buildings in this street. This photograph was taken from near the junction of Lower Brook Street.

Foundation Street is one of the oldest streets in Ipswich, connecting the port with the town centre. Buildings which had stood for centuries were demolished in the early 1960s in what was then seen as “improvements”.

Hawkedon Veterinary Surgery is sponsoring a bag dispenser and bags for dog walkers to pick up and dispose of dog’s mess in Nowton Park, Bury St Edmunds. Left to right, Cllr Joanna Rayner and veterinary surgeon Rosina Page-Baker with Marley the dog.

A new initiative to reduce dog fouling in west Suffolk has seen dog bag dispensers installed at two popular parks.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages

Local business directory

Suffolk's trusted business finder

Property search

e.g. Oxford or NW3
Powered by Zoopla

Digital Edition

Read the Ipswich Star e-edition today E-edition

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24