Stevenage medical technician flies to Sierra Leone to help fight Ebola virus


A Lister Hospital medical technician has jumped at the chance to volunteer in Sierra Leone to help fight the deadly Ebola virus.

Shane Breckenridge, from Stevenage, is going to Sierra Leone in West Africa to help fight Ebola.

Shane Breckenridge, from Stevenage, is going to Sierra Leone in West Africa to help fight Ebola. - Credit: Archant

Shane Breckenridge, of Broadview in Stevenage, flew to the capital Freetown yesterday, saying he wanted to help in anyway way he could.

The 27-year-old has been working at the Coreys Mill Lane hospital for two years as a medical laboratory technician in the microbiology department.

He signed up for the Africa mission after Public Health England sent out an email asking for volunteers to go and work in the outbreak zones.

After following news reports about the devastating effect of the virus, Shane said: “I was overwhelmed with the sheer scale of the outbreak and ferocity at which it seemed to be spreading. I wanted to help in any way I could.”

Shane has completed a one-week training course at a mock Ebola diagnostic laboratory and says he feels confident in the work he will be doing during a five-week stint at the base centre in Makeni.

His job will be to test for malaria and the Ebola virus.

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“It is important that a malaria test is also performed on suspected cases of Ebola as the two diseases show very similar symptoms,” he said.

These symptoms include a sudden fever, muscle pain and fatigue, and are followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, a rash and bleeding - both internal and external.

Ebola is not an airborne virus and is passed by coming into contact with bodily fluids.

But Shane is not worried and said he has been supported by friends, family and his colleagues.

“Everyone has been hugely supportive, I can’t thank them enough for their support. I am not scared or worried. I have had all the correct training and I am very confident in my abilities. I am excited to help!”