Health News

Officer undergoing tests at UK hospital that treated ex-spy

LONDON  — A police officer was being tested Saturday night at a hospital in England one week after a nerve agent sickened two people thought to have handled a contaminated item from the March attack on a Russian ex-spy and his daughter.

The officer showed up at a hospital for medical advice and was transferred to Salisbury District Hospital for “appropriate specialist tests,” the hospital said. The man and woman poisoned a week ago are in critical condition at the Salisbury hospital, which is also where Sergei and Yulia Skripal spent months being treated.

The hospital did not say what condition the unidentified police officer was being evaluated for or if the officer might have been exposed to Novichok, a deadly nerve agent developed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War. British officials have said the chemical weapon is what caused the others to fall ill.

The officer initially went to the Great Western Hospital for “medical advice in connection with the ongoing incident in Amesbury,” the town near Salisbury where the latest victims developed symptoms of Novichok poisoning.

The Salisbury hospital “has seen a number of members of the public who have come to the hospital with health concerns since this incident started and none have required any treatment. We would like to reiterate the advice from Public Health England that the risk to the wider public remains low.”

Police on Saturday continued extensive forensic searches for the source of the lethal nerve agent that poisoned 44-year-old Dawn Sturgess and her partner, 45-year-old Charley Rowley. Officials think they had secondary exposure to the chemical weapon used in the attack on the Skripals.

Police have said they are looking for a vial that may contain Novichok. It is a slow and painstaking process as there is no easy way to use modern technology to pinpoint the location of the rare nerve agent.

Officials have said the search underway Saturday could take weeks or months. It has brought more than 100 officers to Salisbury and Amesbury as suspect sites are condoned off to protect the public from possible contamination.

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