Spain checks 6 more patients over Ebola fears

2014-10-17 07:43
An ambulance transporting a Spanish missionary, recently returned from Liberia, arrives at the specialist disease unit in Madrid's Carlos III hospital. (Pierre-Philippe Marcou, AFP)

An ambulance transporting a Spanish missionary, recently returned from Liberia, arrives at the specialist disease unit in Madrid's Carlos III hospital. (Pierre-Philippe Marcou, AFP)

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Madrid - Spanish doctors identified six more cases of possible infection with the deadly Ebola virus on Thursday as a nurse being treated for the disease showed signs of improvement, officials said.

Among the new suspect cases was a Spanish missionary recently returned from one of the countries worst hit by the outbreak, Liberia, who has shown signs of fever, the government said.

He was due to be hospitalised at the specialist disease unit in Madrid's Carlos III hospital, the government's emergency committee on the Ebola outbreak said in a statement.

Two other people were also admitted to that hospital on Thursday, it added: a person who came close to the infected nurse, and a traveller who arrived in Madrid on an Air France flight from Paris.

Separately, on Tenerife in Spain's Canary Islands, a Red Cross worker who had travelled from another affected country, Sierra Leone, was hospitalised, the organisation said.

Health officials in Tenerife said they had hospitalised the man in isolation when he complained of a fever on Thursday after arriving on the island on 12 October from Sierra Leone via Brussels and Madrid.

The man underwent tests which have been sent to Madrid for analysis. He had not shown symptoms before Thursday.

They also put in isolation in hospital as a precaution two people who live with that man but who are not displaying any Ebola-like symptoms, said a Canary Islands health official who asked not to be named.

Missionaries, nurses, travellers

The missionary is a member of the Hospital Order of San Juan de Dios, a Roman Catholic group that runs a charity working with Ebola victims in West Africa, the government said in a statement.

Two elderly Spanish missionaries from the same order were diagnosed with Ebola in west Africa in August and September and flown home to Spain for treatment, but they both died shortly afterwards.

Teresa Romero, a 44-year-old Spanish nurse at Madrid's Carlos III Hospital where they were cared for, was on October 6 herself diagnosed with Ebola, the first person known to have become infected with the virus outside Africa.

She remains in stable condition at Carlos III, the government's health emergencies coordinator, Fernando Simon, told a news conference earlier on Thursday.

The level of Ebola virus in her body is declining, he added.

"She talks slowly but is perfectly lucid", said a hospital source.

The person who came in contact with Romero and was hospitalised on Thursday is among 68 people considered as having had "low-risk contact" with the infected nurse. They have been monitored at home since Romero was diagnosed with Ebola on 6 October.

Read more on:    red cross  |  spain  |  ebola

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