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A test for Ebola has been carried out on a female passenger who died after arriving in the UK from The Gambia.

The Department for Health said the test on the woman, who landed at Gatwick Airport on Saturday, came back negative on Sunday afternoon.

Some 728 people have died of Ebola in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone this year, in the worst-ever outbreak of the disease.

Public Health England says the risk to the UK remains very low.

A Department of Health spokeswoman said the passenger’s symptoms had not suggested she was an Ebola victim but the test was carried out because she had travelled from West Africa.

The South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust said they were called to Gatwick at 8:27 BST on Saturday after the woman became unwell during the flight.

A spokeswoman said: “A single ambulance attended and transported the patient, an adult female, to East Surrey Hospital at Redhill where we understand she sadly later died.”

The virus spreads through human contact with a sufferer’s bodily fluids.

Initial flu-like symptoms can lead to external haemorrhaging from areas like eyes and gums, and internal bleeding which can lead to organ failure. The current mortality rate is about 55%.

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has said the government is taking the outbreak, and the threat to the UK, “very seriously”.

Ministers have discussed what precautionary measures could be taken if any UK nationals in West Africa become infected with Ebola.

Public Health England has advised UK medical staff to watch out for unexplained illnesses in patients who have visited West Africa.


It said no cases of imported Ebola have ever been reported in the UK.

The US is to send at least 50 public health experts to the region to help fight the disease. They are expected to arrive in the next month.

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Meanwhile, American Ebola patient Dr Kent Brantly is improving in hospital after returning to the US from Liberia. Another infected US citizen, aid worker Nancy Writebol, is expected to arrive in the US soon.


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