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British nurse that was infected with Ebola back in 2014 is back in the hospital for the THIRD time

Ebola virus

(NaturalNews) A British Ebola survivor has been admitted to the hospital for the third time, following the discovery that the virus had been hiding out in her brain for months.

Scottish nurse Pauline Cafferkey, 39, was rushed to Queen Elizabeth University Hospital when routine monitoring uncovered lingering health complications from Ebola. From there, the Royal Air Force airlifted her to the Royal Free Hospital in London, the only hospital in the United Kingdom with a high-level isolation ward for highly infectious patients. It is the third time Cafferkey has been treated at that isolation ward.

Ebola migrated to her brain

The Ebola outbreak in western Africa, that began in March 2014, infected almost 29,000 people and killed more than 11,000 in Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and the United States. The outbreak did not end until January 13 of this year, when the World Health Organization declared the last of the affected countries, Liberia, free of the disease.

Cafferkey contracted Ebola in December 2014 while working at a Save the Children treatment center in Kerry Town, Sierra Leone. According to Save the Children, she contracted the disease due to a failure to wear protective goggles, opting instead for a face visor. Cafferkey said that the goggles available did not fit her.

After she returned home, she began feeling ill, with a high fever. She was diagnosed with Ebola and taken to the Royal Free Hospital. She spent about a month on the isolation ward there, at times in critical condition.

In late January 2015, she was discharged. But in October she developed meningitis, which was later found to be caused by the Ebola virus lingering in her brain tissue. She was once again rushed to the Royal Free Hospital and placed in isolation. She again fell into a critical condition and was treated with an experimental drug. In November, she was transferred back to a hospital in Scotland, and eventually allowed to return home.

"Hopefully this is it - that's the end of it," she said at the time.

Up to half of survivors suffer ongoing health problems

Unfortunately, that was not the end of it. But fortunately, this time the lingering meningitis was discovered early, and she is in a stable condition.

"'We can confirm that Pauline Cafferkey is being transferred to the Royal Free Hospital due to a late complication from her previous infection by the Ebola virus," a hospital spokesperson said.

"She will now be treated by the hospital's infectious diseases team under nationally agreed guidelines.

"The Ebola virus can only be transmitted by direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected person while they are symptomatic so the risk to the general public remains low."

While it was previously known that Ebola could hide out in bodily tissues for months after recovery, Cafferkey's recurrent problems underline just how poorly understood the virus remains.

"It is very sad to hear that Ms Cafferkey has once again been admitted to hospital," said Dr. Derek Gatherer, from Lancaster University. "It is now becoming clear that Ebola is a far more complex disease than we previously imagined."

Gatherer warned that as many as 50 percent of Ebola survivors will have lingering health problems for an unknown length of time.

"The meningitis that Ms Cafferkey suffered from at the end of last year is one of the most serious complications of all, as it can be life-threatening," he said. "She was unlucky enough to be one of only a handful of patients in whom it has been seen.

"Up to half of Ebola survivors will have some or several of this milder range of symptoms. Although not life-threatening, these can be problematic, especially in societies like west Africa where a large number of people make their living from agricultural labour," Dr. Gatherer told the U.K.'s Daily Mail.

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