British Ebola survivor treated at Royal Free Hospital returns to Sierra Leone
- Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images
The Ebola survivor who was treated at the Royal Free Hospital has flown back to the country where he caught the deadly virus.
William Pooley said he was “delighted” to return to Sierra Leone in West Africa to rejoin the fight against the disease.
The 29-year-old nurse was flown back to the UK by RAF aircraft on August 24 after becoming the first Briton to contract the disease.
He was treated in an isolation unit at the Royal Free in Pond Street, Hampstead, where he received the experimental drug ZMapp before making a full recovery. He was discharged 10 days after his arrival on September 3.
He said his family were concerned about his decision to go back but should be comforted by his “potential immunity”.
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“There is still a lot of work to do out there and I am in the same or better position than when I chose to go out before,” he said.
“I know my mum and dad are worried but they support me because they know this is something I have to do.
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“My potential immunity is very reassuring for them, or at least it should be, and I will be returning in a more organised fashion than when I was out there originally.”
Speaking in London before he set off, Mr Pooley once again thanked Royal Free staff for their “excellent treatment and support”.
He added: “The real emergency is in West Africa, and the teams out there need all the support we can give them.
“I am now looking forward to getting back out there and doing all I can to prevent as many unnecessary deaths as possible.”
Mr Pooley will be working in the isolation unit at Connaught Hospital in the capital Freetown where he will train local staff and help to set up new isolation units, after previously treating patients in a government hospital in the city of Kenema.
He will join the King’s Health Partners team, a partnership between King’s College London and three NHS trusts.
Dr Oliver Johnson, programme director for the King’s Sierra Leone Partnership, said: “It is fantastic that Will has chosen to join our small team here at Connaught Hospital.
“The situation here in Freetown is getting worse by the day and so Will’s experience and commitment will be vital as we do everything we can to stem the flow of cases.
“The best way of stopping Ebola spreading even further is to fight it at its source and I look forward to working with Will to do just that.”