Several Britons are quarantined across the UK with suspected Ebola, public health officials admitted on Tuesday.
The revelation comes as a Welsh national who fears they may have contracted the deadly Ebola virus while abroad has returned home and placed themselves in voluntary quarantine.
The potential victim is understood to be living in Cardiff and is being “closely monitored,” health officials said.
Doctors from Public Health Wales said the individual had been “voluntarily” confined at home for the past week after returning from an infected country in West Africa. They confirmed there were several similar cases throughout Britain.
Medical experts are in daily telephone contact with the person in case they start to show symptoms of the deadly disease.
Public Health Wales said the person is “currently staying away from work and limiting contact with other people voluntarily”.
The official said there were “several cases” across the UK where people have placed themselves in quarantine after they believed they had come into contact with infected people in West Africa, although this was being done as a precaution and none had developed the symptoms.
Anna Humphries, of Public Health Wales, said: “There are other people in the UK, not in Wales, but we are aware of other people that have come back from affected countries and have been at risk because whatever they have done while they have been over there. They have been in a similar situation and they have been monitored for an incubation period to check they have not gone onto develop symptoms.
“There is a process for dealing with returning travellers and this is an example of that. Quarantine really depends on where exactly they have been.”
The details of where the other individuals are quarantined has not been disclosed.
The news comes as British Airways cancelled its flights to Sierra Leone and Liberia, cutting off the only direct flights between Britain and the Ebola-infected area of west Africa.
The carrier, which operates a direct flight four times a week from London to Sierra Leone and onto Liberia, announced on Tuesday it was suspending flights “due to the deteriorating public health situation in both countries”.
It follows warnings at the weekend from the World Health Organisation the epidemic, which has killed nearly 900 people since February, was spreading faster than it could be controlled.
Health officials are believed to be particularly concerned about Liberia, where staff are understood have fled hospitals in some areas because of fears they themselves could become infected.
A statement from Public Health Wales insisted that the individual in quarantine does not have symptoms and “there are no cases of Ebola in Wales”.
The statement added: “We are alert to the possibility of Ebola cases in the UK, given the outbreak in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea, and we remain vigilant to unexplained illness in people who have travelled from the area.
“Processes have been developed to protect public health in the event that we are notified of any individual who may have been exposed to Ebola.”
A spokeswoman said people cannot be tested for the virus before the onset of symptoms. The person is not symptomatic so has not been tested and is being monitored by experts.
The individual has so far been under surveillance for a week and “seems well”, she said.
Ebola is a severe acute viral illness often characterised by the sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. In its early stages its symptoms can often be confused with a cold or flu.
In Ebola cases, other symptoms emerge which include vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding.
The maximum period the virus usually incubates before symptoms emerge is 21 days.
Ms Humphries added: “If somebody, say was a health care worker in that region said they had touched somebody that had the infection, you would want to make an assessment of that and say you could be at risk and it might be a good idea to not go to work if you are a doctor or regularly came into contact with someone.
“We and Public Health England have a procedure in place to ensure we manage the risk to the UK. Because it we did have people who come back and go unchecked and wander around and pass Ebola to other people, that’s when problems start. It’s really so we are aware of people who might be at risk and manage them appropriately.”
She said the individual in Wales told doctors they “may have been exposed” to the deadly virus which has so far killed 826 people across Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Guinea.
She said: “We don’t have a case of Ebola at the moment. We have an individual who has travelled in the West Africa region where the outbreak is.
“Upon returning to Wales a week ago, the individual realised they may have been in contactwith people with Ebola, although the risk is minimal.
“The person is voluntarily staying at home and away from work for 21 days.”
She added that Public Health England is in daily contact to monitor the individual, who is currently showing no symptoms.
“As a result, there is no case – and no suspected case and ‘no risk to the public’ posed by the quarantined traveller,” she said.
“They don’t have symptoms at the moment. This is someone who may have been exposed to Ebola and we are keeping an eye on them.
“The reason we haven’t spoken about this before is the individual is not currently a case of Ebola.”
Public Health Wales said good hygiene is the most effective way of stopping the virus spreading.
Fears that Ebola may reach Britain intensified on Sunday night after a passenger from a flight which stopped in Sierra Leone died at Gatwick airport.
The 72-year-old woman became ill and collapsed after she left a Gambia Bird jet arriving from the West African country, but tests later revealed she did not have the disease.
The British hospital with the necessary expertise for treating the Ebola virus is the Royal Free Hospital in London and is where any infected person would eventually be taken in the event of an outbreak.