United Kingdom is declared free of Ebola virus disease

WHO commends the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on its diligence in containing the transmission of Ebola virus disease (EVD). The United Kingdom is therefore now declared free of EVD on the basis of the WHO guidelines.

On 28 December 2014, a health-care worker returned to Glasgow in the United Kingdom after volunteering at an Ebola treatment centre in Sierra Leone. The health-care worker, who had displayed no symptoms of EVD during the journey, developed a fever and myalgia on 29 December and was placed in strict isolation at the specialist Brownlee Unit for Infectious Diseases on the Gartnavel Hospital campus.

On the afternoon of 29 December 2014, laboratory testing using reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) confirmed that the health-care worker had EVD. WHO was notified of the case. The patient was transferred for treatment in isolation at the Royal Free hospital in London on 30 December 2014 and remained there until fully recovered.

All passengers who travelled on the same flights as the health-care worker from Freetown, Sierra Leone, to Casablanca, Morocco, and then to London Heathrow and Glasgow were contacted and monitored for any symptoms of EVD for 21 days. By 18 January, they all had completed the 21-day follow-up period without developing EVD.

On 23 January 2015, the patient tested negative twice for EVD, and was therefore discharged from hospital on 24 January 2015. On 7 March 2015, 42 days had passed since the health-care worker had tested negative for the second time using RT-PCR testing. The United Kingdom is therefore now declared free of EVD on the basis of the WHO guidelines.

WHO commends the United Kingdom and Morocco for the measures put in place to identify and trace all potential contacts and to prevent further transmission of the Ebola virus. These measures included the exhaustive tracing of fellow air passengers and the implementation of all necessary preventive and control measures. 

WHO media contacts:

Cristiana Salvi
Communications Officer
Telephone: +45 45 33 68 37
Mobile: +45 29 63 42 18
E-mail: csa@euro.who.int

Margaret Harris
Communications Officer
WHO Geneva
Telephone: +41 227911646
Mobile: +41 796 036 224
E-mail: harrism@who.int