The Ebola crisis may have hit Queensland’s shores.

This afternoon, the State’s Chief Health officer revealed a 57 year nurse is in isolation in Cairns Base Hospital.

The woman was admitted this afternoon after returning from Sierra Leone showing Ebola-like symptoms.

Joseph Cooney reports.


Sue-Ellen Kovack returned to Australia on the weekend. She’d been volunteering for the Red Cross in Sierra Leone.

Chief Health officer Jeannette Young says Ms Kovack recorded an elevated temperature this morning before immediately presenting herself at hospital for isolation.

But Dr Young was keen to stress Ebola is unconfirmed at this stage.

Jeanette Young, Qld Chief Health Officer: “We don’t know whether she has that, but she’s been exposed to people with the disease while working in Sierra Leone, and she now has a low-grade fever”

She said there’s no chance any fellow passengers on the nurse’s flight were infected as she has only shown symptoms from this morning.

Jeanette Young, Qld Chief Health Officer: “It’s only since this morning that she’s had a low-grade fever. She has not been out in the community in Cairns. She has been at home and isolated in her own home testing herself.”

The woman’s test results are expected to be known early tomorrow.

Just last week QUT News spoke to a Brisbane-based Red Cross doctor who also has just returned from Sierra Leone.

Jenny Stedmon called for more urgent assistance to fight the virus.

But, said Australia was relatively safe.

Dr Jenny Stedmon, Red Cross Aid Worker: “If it did turn up in Australia we have the capacity to isolate someone and prevent it from spreading”

Joseph Cooney, QUT News.