- The woman helped treat a Spanish missionary and a Spanish priest, both of whom had contracted Ebola in West Africa. Both died after returning to Spain
- Health officials said she developed symptoms on September 30. She was not hospitalized until this week. Her only symptom was a fever
- Investigation is under way to find everyone the assistant nurse may have had contact with
- She was one of about 30 health professionals in Spain who helped to treat two Ebola patients, Manuel Garcia Viejo, 69 (died in a Madrid hospital on 25 September after catching Ebola in Sierra Leone) and Miguel Pajares, 75 (died in August after contracting the virus in Liberia)
The full story
Spain’s Health Minister Ana Mato has confirmed that a nurse who treated two victims of Ebola in Madrid has tested positive for the disease.
The nurse is said to be the first person in the current outbreak known to have contracted Ebola outside Africa.
She was one of about 30 health professionals in Spain who helped to treat two Ebola patients, Spanish priest, Manuel Garcia Viejo, 69 who died in a Madrid hospital on 25 September after catching Ebola in Sierra Leone, and Miguel Pajares, 75 who died in August after contracting the virus in Liberia.
Some 3,400 people have died in the outbreak – mostly in West Africa.
The health minister said the nurse was admitted to hospital in Alcorcon, near Madrid, on Monday morning with a high fever, she said.
“Both the health ministry and public health authorities are working together to give the best care to the patient and to guarantee the safety of all citizens,” the minister told a news conference.
Thomas Duncan, the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the US, is being treated at a Dallas hospital in isolation. He caught the virus in his native Liberia.
Mr. Duncan’s condition is critical but stable, doctors said on Monday.
He has been given Brincidofovir, a new experimental drug for treating Ebola which was developed in North Carolina.
Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama has said the White House is considering extra screening at US airports for people arriving from the worst-affected countries in West Africa.
Obama gives assurance
He said the chances for an Ebola outbreak in the US were extremely low, but vowed to step up the pressure on larger countries to help with efforts to contain the disease.
“As I’ve said from the start of this outbreak, I consider this a top national security priority. This is not just a matter of charity … This is an issue about our safety,” President Barack Obama told reporters Monday.
Obama called for protocols to help stop the spread of the disease, while downplaying the risk of an epidemic in the United States.
“We’re also going to be working on protocols to do additional passenger screening, both at the source and here in the United States. Here in the United States, at least, the chances of an outbreak — of an epidemic are extraordinarily low,” he said.
Quarantines at borders?
To avoid an outbreak, the federal government should start enhanced screening and quarantines at borders, Texas Gov. Rick Perry said earlier Monday.
“There’s only so much that a state can do,” said Perry, whose state is the first to have a patient diagnosed with the disease inside the United States.
The patient, Thomas Eric Duncan flew into the United States last month from Liberia, the country hit hardest by the epidemic. He was coming to visit family and friends.
After his Ebola diagnosis at a Dallas hospital, Duncan now lies in an isolation unit in critical condition.
Freelance cameraman Ashoka Mukpo, who contracted the virus while covering the epidemic in West Africa, arrived for treatment in isolation at Nebraska Medical Centre on Monday.
His father, Mitchell Levy, said he had tried to dissuade his son from going to cover the outbreak.
“I told him he was crazy,” Levy said.
Mukpo was strong enough to walk off the plane, said Dr. Brad Britigan of Nebraska Medical Centre. Doctors are evaluating his condition.
Ebola virus disease (EVD)
- Symptoms include high fever, bleeding and central nervous system damage
- Spread by body fluids, such as blood and saliva
- Fatality rate can reach 90% – but current outbreak has mortality rate of about 70%
- Incubation period is two to 21 days
- There is no proven vaccine or cure
- Supportive care such as rehydrating patients who have diarrhoea and vomiting can help recovery
- Fruit bats, a delicacy for some West Africans, are considered to be virus’s natural host
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