Two airline passengers monitored for potentially deadly virus

Ceri Roberts
Two UK airline passengers monitored for potentially deadly virus
Two UK airline passengers monitored for potentially deadly virus

PA


Doctors in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde are monitoring two passengers who flew into Glasgow airport from Dubai on Tuesday.

Both passengers were sitting close to the 38-year-old man who has since died of Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF). The virus is widespread in parts of Africa, Asia, Indian and the Middle East but this is the first recorded case in the UK.

Sky News reports that CCHF is spread by ticks or through contact with animal tissue during or after slaughter. It is fatal in around a third of cases but can only be transmitted by direct contact with infected blood or bodily fluids, so the risk of person-to-person infection is low.

The unnamed passenger was diagnosed with the virus when he flew into Glasgow from Kabul, after a stopover in Dubai.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde identified four passengers who may have had contact with the deceased, and will monitor two of them on a daily basis for any sign of symptoms.

The health board said that the other two passengers do not require follow-ups and the risk to other passengers on the flight is "extremely low".

The Daily Mail reports that the infected man was originally treated in isolation at Glasgow's Gartnavel General Hospital's Brownlee Centre, which specialises in infectious diseases.

On Friday he was flown to the high-security infectious diseases unit at London's Royal Free Hospital, where he later died.

Dr Syed Ahmed, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde's consultant in public health, told Sky News: "The risk of person-to-person transmission of Crimean-Congo viral haemorrhagic fever is extremely low as it can only be transmitted by direct contact with infected blood or body fluids.

"It is not a virus which is transmitted through the air. As such, the risk to those who were in close contact with him is minimal. We have already made contact with all the patient's close contacts and they are being followed up appropriately."

Early symptoms of CCHF include headaches, fever, vomiting, stomach and joint pain, progressing to large areas of severe bruising, nosebleeds and uncontrolled bleeding at injection sites.

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