All close contacts of Pauline Cafferkey since she became symptomatic have now been identified.
A total of 58 close contacts have been confirmed and they are a mixture of healthcare workers and Pauline’s friends, family and community contacts.
Decisions on the management of close contacts have been taken by an expert group including, Health Protection Scotland, Public Health England, Scottish Government, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, and other national experts with experience of Ebola.
This group has agreed that, as a precautionary measure, close contacts who have been established as having had direct contact with any bodily fluids would be offered vaccination. These vaccinations have now taken place.
The rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine offered is currently being trialled in collaboration with the World Health Organisation and has been tested in over 7,000 people during the recent outbreak of Ebola virus infection in Guinea. It is an unlicensed vaccine, currently being trialled.
40 of the 58 close contacts were confirmed as having had direct contact with Pauline’s bodily fluids and were offered the vaccine in line with criteria set out by the expert group:
It is known from the existing clinical trials of this vaccine that some one in four recipients are expected to experience a rise in body temperature. Therefore, if anyone who has been vaccinated experiences a raised temperature they will undergo a precautionary Ebola blood test. All blood test samples for Ebola in Scotland are tested at the Scottish National Viral Haemorrhagic Fever Test Centre in Edinburgh.
All 58 close contacts are being closely monitored. This includes a period of 21 days since their last exposure where they will have their temperature taken twice daily, restrictions placed on travel and, in the case of healthcare workers they have been asked not to have direct patient contact during this period.
The 25 who were vaccinated will undergo additional monitoring because the vaccine is still being evaluated.
It is important to stress once again that there is no risk to the general public. Ebola is not spread through ordinary social contact, such as shaking hands or sitting next to someone. Nor is it spread through airborne particles.