UK & World News

  • 1 August 2014, 14:58

Athlete Tested For Ebola At Commonwealth Games

An athlete competing for Sierra Leone at the Commonwealth Games has revealed he spent four days in isolation over fears he had brought the deadly ebola disease into the UK.

Moses Sesay, who came to Scotland to compete in the cycling time trial, fell ill last week and was admitted to hospital.

"I felt tired and listless," he said. "All the doctors were in special suits to treat me. They dressed like I had ebola. I was very scared."

Tests eventually gave Sesay the all-clear and he was allowed to compete in the event, ultimately finishing last.

But the 32-year-old said he and his team-mates are worried about returning to their homeland once the Games are over.

More than 220 people have died in Sierra Leone after contracting the disease - more than any other country.

"All of us are scared about going back," Sesay told the Mirror.

"We have a three-month visa in our passports and, if I have the opportunity, I will stay here until this ends."

Health officials have been warned to be on the lookout for any unexplained illness in people returning from countries where ebola is present.

One union leader said British border, customs and immigration staff feel unprepared to deal with potential cases of the disease, although the Home Office said there was a "well-established plan to deal with different scenarios".

Dr Colin Ramsay, from Health Protection Scotland, said patients could be screened for ebola if they show symptoms including a fever, headache or sore throat, especially if they have travelled from an affected area within the last three weeks.

Putting such patients in isolation is a "standard precaution" and not unusual, he added.

A spokesman for Glasgow 2014 stressed there is "no ebola in the athletes' village", while Dr Ramsay said there is nothing to suggest there is any risk to sports stars competing in Glasgow.

"People have a misconception about ebola," he said.

"It is spread, primarily, through contact with bodily fluids, not casual conflict, so it wouldn't be sufficient just to share a house with someone.

"There has to have been close contact to have a substantial risk of being infected with the disease."

Meanwhile, a US doctor infected with ebola has insisted the only available dose of an experimental serum go to a fellow American patient in Liberia.

Dr Kent Brantly asked for the unit of blood to go to missionary Nancy Writebol, as the World Health Organisation announced a $100m (59.2m) plan to tackle the outbreak.