• Spain's news in English

Madrid: Spanish nurse contracts Ebola

AFP · 6 Oct 2014, 20:19

Published: 06 Oct 2014 20:19 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Health Minister Ana Mato said an emergency protocol had been put in place after two tests confirmed the woman had been infected with the virus, which has claimed almost 3,500 lives in west Africa this year.

"We are working to guarantee the safety of all citizens," she told a televised news conference.

The woman was part of a medical team at Madrid's La Paz-Carlos III hospital that treated two elderly Spanish missionaries who died of Ebola shortly after they were repatriated to Spain from Africa in August and September.

SEE ALSO: Spain's hospitals aren't ready for Ebola

She began to feel ill on September 30 but did not go to hospital until Sunday complaining of a fever.

The assistant nurse, who is married without children, is being treated in isolation at a hospital in Alcorcon, a southern Madrid suburb.

Health authorities are trying to track down all the people she may have come in contact with since she became infected with Ebola, Madrid's primary healthcare director, Antonio Alemany, said at a news conference.

The woman treated Spanish priest Miguel Pajares, 75, who was infected with Ebola in Liberia and died on August 12, as well as Manuel Garcia Viejo, 69, who was repatriated from Sierra Leone and died on September 25th.

Both missionaries were members of the Hospital Order of San Juan de Dios, a Roman Catholic group that runs a charity working with Ebola victims in Africa.

Repatriation deemed risky

Pajares was the first patient in the fast-spreading Ebola outbreak to be evacuated to Europe for treatment. He was hailed as a national hero by many in Spain for his work with Ebola patients.

The missionary was flown to Madrid on a specially equipped military Airbus A310 on August 7th.

The Spanish government's decision to repatriate Pajares prompted concern among health professionals who said that the nation's hospitals were not adequately equipped to handle the Ebola outbreak.

A union that represents Spanish doctors, Amyts, called the repatriation "risky".

"We are working to see if all the protocols which were established were strictly followed," Pastor told the news conference.

"Spain follows all the recommendations of the World Health Organization," she added.

Both missionaries were treated in isolation at La Paz-Carlos III hospital and the medical team that cared for them were closely monitored.

The assistant nurse who is now also infected went on holiday the day after Garcia Viejo died on September 25th.    

The Ebola virus causes fever, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhoea and sometimes internal and external bleeding.

It spreads through contact with the bodily fluids of someone who has the virus and the only way to stop an outbreak is to isolate those who are infected.

There is no market-approved drug for treating Ebola yet, and no vaccine to prevent it.

Of several prototype treatments in the pipeline, one dubbed ZMapp has been fast-tracked for use, developed by Mapp Biopharmaceutical in California, in conjunction with the US Army.

Ebola has caused 3,439 deaths out of 7,478 cases across five west African nations — Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Senegal, according to the latest tally from the World Health Organisation.

Story continues below…

Europe and the United States have also been touched by the disease but until now all the cases stemmed from people who caught the virus in west Africa.

In the United States on Monday, health officials said a Liberian man diagnosed with Ebola in Texas had received an experimental drug called brincidofovir, the first time the medicine has been used to fight the virus.

The man's condition worsened from serious to critical over the weekend.    

Also on Monday, the charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) announced that a Norwegian employee had contracted Ebola in Sierra Leone and would be repatriated shortly.

Another MSF worker, a French nurse, contracted the virus while volunteering in neighbouring Liberia but has been cured, according to the French government.

French President Francois Hollande said before the Spanish case was revealed that France was ready to deal with any outbreak of Ebola on its soil.

"We would be capable of providing treatment if any cases occur in France," he said.

For more news from Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Recipe: How to make fabada - traditional Asturian bean stew
Photo: Flavio Lorenzo Sánchez/Flickr

The hearty Asturian dish is a perfect lunch on a cold day... and don't forget the crusty bread and cider!

Brit 'paedo' held on Costa del Sol after Most Wanted appeal

One of Britain's most wanted fugitives was arrested on the Costa Del Sol following a tip-off from an expat just hours after his face appeared on a public appeal.

Spain's parliament approves deficit reduction measures
Photo: Images Money/Flickr

Spanish lawmakers approved on Thursday measures to reduce the public deficit and keep it under the target agreed with the European Union.

'Cubism and War' show opens at Barcelona Picasso Museum
Pablo Picasso Harlequin and Woman with a Necklace. Photo: MP

Barcelona's Picasso Museum unveiled an exhibition on "Cubism and War" on Thursday depicting how one of the most influential artistic styles of the 20th century survived the First World War.

Why this bionic limb pioneer doesn't believe in disability
Hugh Herr has been award Spain's top science prize. Photo: FPA

The Local speaks to Hugh Herr on winning Spain's top science prize and how being an amputee doesn't make him disabled.

Dine in the buff at Spain's first nudist restaurant
A buffet of organic food will be served on "human tables". Photo: Innato / Facebook

Spain's first naked dining experience is to arrive on the island of Tenerife following the success of a similar venture in London.

Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Photo: AFP

Spain's Constitutional Court on Thursday cancelled a bullfighting ban in Catalonia in what is likely to exacerbate tensions between Madrid and the separatist region, and between animal activists and fans of the tradition.

Out of the dark: Five years on from Eta ceasefire
Eta members made a ceasefire declaration in January, 2011. Photo: Gara / AFP

Five years after armed separatist group Eta declared a permanent ceasefire, Basque journalist Alberto Letona is still wondering when the dialogue will begin.

Hunt for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Call Crimestoppers if you recognize these faces.

These fugitives from British justice are thought to be hiding out in Spain. Do you recognize anyone?

Eta 'not dead' but Spain focus moves onto jihadism
Archive photo of a pro-mural in the Basque Country. Photo: AFP

Five years after Eta quit violence, the Basque separatist group has yet to dissolve but it poses little threat and authorities have shifted their focus to fight jihadists, says Spain's chief anti-terrorism prosecutor.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
Bison found decapitated on Valencia nature reserve
Forgotten Voices: What Brits in Spain think about Brexit
One dead and 14 injured in blast at Spanish resort
Game of Thrones want extras 'with muscles' to film in Spain
Thousands march in Madrid to push for bullfighting ban
jobs available