Ebola scare in Australia

A nurse is being tested for Ebola virus in Cairns after returning from Sierra Leone, where she had been helping treat people infected with the deadly disease.

The nurse is in isolation at the Cairns Hospital while being tested for the disease, AP reported.

Nurse Sue-Ellen Kovack, 57, had been quarantined after returning to Australia, and contacted the hospital after developing a fever.

Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young told reporters in Brisbane that the woman, as recommended by national guidelines, had been isolating herself at home and checking her temperature twice daily since her return on Tuesday.

A blood sample had been taken from Ms Novack and was being flown to Brisbane for testing, The Australian said.

Ms Kovack's test results were expected back tonight or tomorrow morning, with pathologists on standby to do the testing as soon as the blood sample arrived in Brisbane.

Dr Young told reporters there was no worry about passengers on the woman's flights home or for staff at the hospital.

"There is absolutely no concern for any passenger on any plane she's been on because she did not have any symptoms at all when she was on those flights."

In an interview with the ABC last month, Ms Kovack said it was her responsibility to help those in need.

"I care about humanity and if I have what people need, I would like to use these skills.

"Why me? Well, if not me then who?" Ms Kovack said.

Before she left for West Africa, she told The Cairns Post that she was "a little bit nervous, a little bit anxious but healthily anxious I think."

There have been three suspected cases of Ebola investigated in Australia.

A woman who attended a conference in Africa was released from quarantine at a Perth hospital on September 23 after being cleared of the disease.

And a one-year-old child was cleared of any infection after being taken to a Melbourne hospital on September 19 with suspicious symptoms.

A third suspected case on the Gold Coast was cleared by tests after a man claiming to have spent time in Africa complained of vague symptoms while in police custody.

 

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