Ebola nurse in UK may be rare case of relapse

FILE-In this Tuesday, June 30, 2015, file photo, health workers take a blood specimen from a child to test for the Ebola virus in a area were a 17-year old boy died from the virus on the outskirts of Monrovia, Liberia. Samples taken from the 17-year-old boy who died from Ebola in Liberia last week show the virus is genetically similar to viruses that infected many people in the same area more than six months ago, the World Health Organization said Friday, July 10, 2015. (AP Photo/ Abbas Dulleh, File)

LONDON (AP) — The World Health Organization says it’s possible in rare instances for patients who survived Ebola to develop the lethal disease again, when lingering virus in the body starts to replicate.

That might explain what has happened to a Scottish nurse now being treated in London’s Royal Free Hospital. Pauline Cafferkey was admitted on Friday for an “unusual late complication” of Ebola.

On Wednesday, the hospital reported that she was being treated for Ebola without offering further details.

WHO spokeswoman Dr. Margaret Harris says that the U.N. health agency has seen several cases of Ebola survivors who “for unknown reasons” began to start reproducing the virus and become ill. She said it’s unclear whether those people might then be infectious to others but that such cases have been very rare.

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