Doctors at a London hospital have started treating the first confirmed case of a Briton with Ebola during the present outbreak.

William Pooley, who contracted Ebola while working as a volunteer nurse in Sierra Leone, was flown to RAF Northolt at the weekend and taken under police escort to the Royal Free Hospital.  He is being treated at the hospital’s high level isolation unit, the only one of its kind in Europe.

Mr Pooley’s family issued a statement saying “we have been astounded by the speed and way which the various international and UK government agencies have worked together to get Will home”. They said he is “receiving excellent care at the Royal Free Hospital and we could not ask for him to be in a better place”.

The family concluded by asking people to remember those “in other parts of the world suffering with Ebola who do not have access to the same healthcare facilities as Will”.

Meantime the World Health Organisation has commented on the “unprecedented number of medical staff infected with Ebola”.

More than 240 healthcare workers have developed the disease in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone, and more than 120 have died.  The agency notes that the loss of so many doctors and nurses “has made it difficult for WHO to secure support from sufficient numbers of foreign medical staff”.

The African Union has launched an urgent initiative to recruit more healthcare workers from among its members, said the WHO which also noted that  the Democratic Republic of the Congo has become the fifth African country to declare an Ebola outbreak.