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Red Cross aid worker tests negative to Ebola

Australian Red Cross aid worker Sue Ellen Kovack has tested negative for Ebola

Friday October 10, 2014

Red Cross aid workers receive training to help control the spread of Ebola in West Africa.

Australian Red Cross aid worker Sue Ellen Kovack has tested negative for Ebola in Cairns Hospital after returning from Sierra Leone to Australia five days ago.

"It is really great news that Sue Ellen's initial test results indicate that she does not have Ebola. Of course Sue Ellen is relieved and happy, though she is aware that she is still to complete a precautionary period of isolation for three weeks after leaving Sierra Leone," Australian Red Cross Head of International Program Peter Walton said.

Australian Red Cross will continue to do everything we can to support her. Like all our other aid workers there, she has demonstrated enormous courage helping people affected by the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone.

More than 4,000 Red Cross volunteers and staff have been providing medical care and working around the clock to help control the spread of Ebola since the disease first broke out in West Africa. Since March, more than 150 international Red Cross aid workers have been in West Africa providing medical care and helping to control the virus.

Volunteer teams have also traced and monitored close to 35,500 people who have been in contact with an Ebola patient, monitoring them for three weeks to ensure any resulting cases are quickly identified, isolated and treated.

Red Cross has strict procedures in place and aid workers are briefed before they leave the country. There are also comprehensive guidelines in place on the use of personal protective equipment. The aid worker indicated she had followed those guidelines and was confident there had been no breach of the protective equipment while she was in Sierra Leone.

The current Ebola outbreak is the largest in history. More than 3,000 people have died and over 6,570 cases have been reported across Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, Nigeria and Senegal.

Red Cross launched the Ebola Outbreak 2014 Appeal to provide humanitarian assistance to communities affected by the spread of the Ebola virus disease. We are calling on the Australian public to help.

Media enquiries: Antony Balmain 0408 018 609 or email