Spain hospitalises Liberia missionary for possible Ebola

16th October 2014, Comments 0 comments

A Spanish missionary who recently returned from Liberia was hospitalised Thursday at a Madrid unit specialising in Ebola cases after showing signs of fever, officials said.

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.

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.

The government statement said the unnamed missionary arrived in Spain from Liberia on Saturday and he will be admitted to the Carlos III Hospital, which Spain has designated to handle Ebola cases.

Spanish priest Miguel Pajares, 75, who was infected with Ebola in Liberia, was flown to Madrid on a specially equipped Airbus military plane on August 7. He died on August 12.

Pajares was the first Ebola patient of the current outbreak to be brought to Europe for treatment.

The second missionary, Manuel Garcia Viejo, 69, was repatriated from Sierra Leone and died on September 25.

The nurse who became infected after treating the two missionaries, Teresa Romero, remains in stable condition at Carlos III hospital, 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.

Health authorities hospitalised three other people on Thursday for testing for Ebola.

One of them is among 68 people considered as having had "low-risk contact" with Romero who have been monitored at home since she was diagnosed with Ebola on October 6.

"Among the 68 'low risk' contacts there is news. One of them developed fever this morning," Simon said.

The unidentified person was transferred to Carlos III Hospital and the result of the Ebola test is expected late Thursday, he added.

A passenger who arrived in Madrid from Nigeria via Paris on an Air France Flight who had started shaking during the flight was also taken to the hospital, the airline and Spanish airports operator Aena said.

Health authorities said an Ebola emergency protocol had also been set in motion in Spain's Canary Islands after a man who left Sierra Leone on October 8 and arrived at a hospital in Tenerife with a fever.

The man underwent tests which have been sent to Madrid.

Nearly 4,500 people have died so far this year from Ebola, mainly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Health officials warn many more will die if the outbreak continues at its current pace.

© 2014 AFP

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