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Hamburg scientist quarantined after contact with Ebola virus

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Hamburg scientist quarantined after contact with Ebola virus
A media handout of quarantine facilities in Hamburg. Photo: DPA
16:28 CET+01:00
A researcher from a tropical disease research institute in Hamburg has been hospitalised after possibly being infected with the deadly Ebola virus in a laboratory accident, doctors announced on Tuesday.

The woman was working in a high-security laboratory at the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine (BNI) when she injured her hand “minimally” through three pairs of gloves with a needle on Thursday, the University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf reported. She has been in quarantine since Friday.

“But we are not sure that the Ebola virus has developed,” head of the institute’s tropical medicine branch Stefan Schmiedel said.

The Ebola virus incubation period is between 3 and 21 days, but averages about 12 days. The woman was the first patient worldwide to be treated with a new synthetic Ebola vaccine. She has tolerated the vaccine well, but suffered a high fever and pain in her limbs for a few hours - symptoms which are similar to the onset of an Ebola infection. If she becomes infected with the highly contagious African virus, she will be the first person ever to contract it in Germany.

According to the Hamburg health department, there is no danger of infection for the general population.

Symptoms include high-fever and haemorrhaging. “The patients bleed from their nose and all orifices,” head of the Bernhard Nocht Institute Egbert Tannich said. “This accident should not have happened.”

The researcher is under the constant care of three nurses and a doctor until they can rule out infection.

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