Skip to comments.EXCLUSIVE: Inside the UK's High-Tech Ebola Unit
Posted on 08/03/2014 9:38:35 PM PDT by nickcarraway
hIDDEN away on the 11th floor of one of Londons top hospitals is Britains frontline in the fight against the dreaded Ebola disease.
Should the killer virus strike in the UK, victims will be taken to the countrys only high security isolation unit at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead.
Just seven doctors specially trained in infectious diseases and a small team of nurses are allowed to enter and the ward is sealed tight with automatic door locks.
There are two isolator beds, each in a separate room, a space that would normally hold 20 beds.
Each £25,000 bed is contained within an airtight tent that generates its own air supply and includes built-in suits for the medical staff to wear when attending to a patient. Whenever a bed is used it is destroyed afterwards.
The ward also has its own laboratory and three large autoclaves, similar to pressure cookers, which safely dispose of all human waste in heat-sealed plastic bags.
The reason behind the unit is to protect health care workers from highly contagious infections such as Ebola. Everything is contained within the tent under negative pressure so the air is constantly added and removed
Dr Stephen Mepham, an infectious disease specialist, allowed the Sunday Express a glimpse of what would be Ground Zero in the event of an Ebola outbreak in Britain.
He said: The reason behind the unit is to protect health care workers from highly contagious infections such as Ebola.
Everything is contained within the tent under negative pressure so the air is constantly added and removed.
Outside the tent, the air flows through a series of filters and is deposited outside the hospital.
Linked to the unit is a dedicated laboratory. One of the big risks of viral haemorrhagic fever [the group of illnesses to which Ebola belongs] is that when samples go to different labs, if lab staff are not aware of the potential risks they can become infected.
The benefit of this laboratory is that it is small and self-contained and has all the essential pieces of equipment to hand.
The unit also has the ability to get rid of hospital waste. We have three autoclaves on site which make safe hospital waste before its put into the main waste stream of the hospital to be disposed of.
The dedicated physicians and nurses are in a state of constant readiness.
So far four people have been tested for Ebola in Britain during the latest outbreak but all have been proven to be clear of the disease. In the event of a positive test, however, the Royal Free unit would be placed into lockdown.
Dr Mepham said: The first call wed get would be from the Porton Down research facility in Wiltshire to say that we have a positive case.
There would then be a very coordinated response to inform all of the operational sides to the hospital, alerting all the nursing and medical staff.
There is a time gap, on average eight hours, before we can expect anybody.
Then its about trying to arrange safe passage from the back of the hospital, where the London Ambulance or Royal Air Force would arrive, up the escalator and into the isolation unit. The unit opened at the Royal Free in 2006. So far only two patients have been treated there.
In 2008 a man contracted Lassa fever after visiting Africa and four years later another man was treated for the first confirmed British case of the African illness Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever. Both patients died.
Senior nurse Oliver Carpenter said: Lassa fever is endemic to places like Sierra Leone and Nigeria where there is a lot of traffic to the UK.
Lassa fever, however, is a level down from Ebola, with only a one per cent mortality rate. Ebola has between 60 and 90 per cent mortality rate. Thats why we need to be so vigilant.
Uh, what if the “outbreak” consists of MORE than two patients?
Nah. Best defense is to just ban flights from there.
I still remember during the tube and bus bombings the media was screaming that it was all a huge ELECTRICAL DYSFUNCTION.
Ridiculous but the All Is Well pressures are strong in Britain.
I think the PC crowd considers it unfair that the Rich Unfair White West remains totally unmolested by bloody Ebola.
They have a throbbing Fairness Erection to usher it here and Make Things Fair.
1% mortality rate and the patient died? Hmmmmm
Bet they are not even considering bringing this insidious disease into their country though.
On a brighter note however... Esursnce relates “um” to “I don’t know” ?
Sadly, I thought of that picture too.
Yeah I caught that one too.