The family of British Ebola victim William Pooley has thanked doctors fighting to save his life for the "excellent care" he is being given.

In their first words since the 29-year-old volunteer nurse was flown back to the UK last night for emergency treatment, his family paid tribute to those who orchestrated his speedy return.

And they also urged Britons to consider the thousands in west Africa afflicted by the virus, but dying in their droves because they lack adequate medical care.

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They said: "We would like to express our thanks to all involved in bringing our son back to the UK.

"We have been astounded by the speed and way which the various international and UK government agencies have worked together to get Will home.

"Will is receiving excellent care at the Royal Free Hospital and we could not ask for him to be in a better place.

"We would like to thank all our family and friends for their best wishes and ask everyone to remember those in other parts of the world suffering with Ebola who do not have access to the same healthcare facilities as Will."

Mr Pooley, who comes from the small village of Eyke in Suffolk, contracted the potentially deadly virus while in Sierra Leone, where he had been volunteering at the Ebola centre in Kenema.

He was airlifted by a specially equipped C17 RAF jet back to Britain last night, and is being treated in a specialist isolation ward at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead, north London.

Doctors clad in protective clothing and wearing gloves and masks are caring for the nurse.

There is no known cure for Ebola, which is transmitted through sweat, blood and saliva.