A British national living in Sierra Leone has tested positive for Ebola, the first Briton to fall victim to the deadly disease that has spread across the West African region since March 2014.
Britain's Deputy Chief Medical Officer John Watson confirmed a British national was among those suffering from Ebola and said medical experts were assessing the situation in Sierra Leone to ensure appropriate care was provided. "The overall risk to the public in the UK continues to be very low," Watson said in a statement.
No further details about the British national were immediately available, and it was not known whether there were plans to evacuate the patient.
Ebola, which is passed on by direct contact with the bodily fluids of infected persons, strikes hardest at healthcare providers and caregivers who work closely with those infected. And dozens of local doctors and nurses have died from the virus in recent months.
Fear, stigma and denial have led many families to hide their infected loved ones from health officials. In other instances, patients have been forcibly removed from treatment facilities and isolation centers, creating the risk of the disease's further spread. Lawmakers in Sierra Leone on Friday voted overwhelmingly in favor of making the harboring of those infected with Ebola a crime carrying a punishment of two years in prison.