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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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Scots Ebola nurse lucky to be alive

This news post is about 9 years old

​Scots Ebola nurse discharged from hospital has no plans to return to Africa

Pauline Cafferkey, the Scots aid worker who contracted Ebola in Sierra Leone, has told how she thought she would die form the illness.

Cafferkey (pictured below) has now left hospital but described how, at one stage, she had all but given in to the disease.

The 39 year old charity volunteer said she was now looking forward to returning to "normal life" and had no current plans to return to West Africa.

She is the second Briton to recover from Ebola during the current outbreak.

Speaking after being discharged from the Royal Free Hospital, in London, Cafferkey, from Cambuslang, in South Lanarkshire, thanked staff who she said had saved her life.

"I am just happy to be alive. I still don't feel 100%, I feel quite weak, but I'm looking forward to going home," she added.

Cafferkey had volunteered with Save the Children at a treatment centre in Kerry Town, in Sierra Leone and was diagnosed with Ebola on 29 December, after returning to Glasgow via London.

"My first few days I was very well - I just couldn't understand all the fuss," she said.

However, she said she was "definitely frightened" having witnesses the virus first hand in Sierra Leone.

"Obviously at the back of my mind I had seen what could happen and what could potentially happen to me."

After three or four days Cafferkey said her condition began to deteriorate, with the hospital announcing she had become critically ill on 4 January.

Asked if there was a point she felt she would not make it, Cafferkey said: "There was a point, which I remember clearly. I do remember saying: 'That's it, I've had enough'."

She said she had "no sense of time" in hospital and cannot remember an entire week when the virus took hold.

Chief medical officer, Dame Sally Davies, said her recovery was remarkable while Scotland's First Minister Nicola Stuggeon paid tribute to Cafferkey and the NHS.

Chief executive of Save The Children, Justin Forsyth, described Cafferkey as a "dedicated humanitarian" and said he was "delighted" for her and her family.

The charity is investigating how she contracted the disease.