Spain Investigates Ebola Infection

Investigations are under way at a hospital in Madrid after a Spanish nurse became the first person known to have contracted the deadly Ebola virus. The nurse had treated two Spanish missionaries who died of the disease after being flown home from West Africa.

The European Commission has asked Spain to explain how the nurse could have become infected.

The Spanish auxiliary nurse, a 40-year-old woman who has not been named, was one of about 30 staff at the Carlos III hospital in Madrid who had been treating priests Manuel Garcia Viejo and Miguel Pajares.

Garcia Viejo died at the hospital on September 25 after contacting Ebola in Sierra Leone. Miguel Pajares died in August after contracting the virus in Liberia. The nurse had twice gone into the room where Viejo had been treated – to be directly involved in his care and to disinfect the room after his death. On each occasion she was wearing protective clothing. Madrid health care director Antonia Alemany said that according to the information available: “The nurse went into the room wearing the individual protection gear and there’s no knowledge of an accidental exposure to risk.”

Shortly afterwards the nurse went on holiday, a hospital spokesman said, she fell ill on 30 September and was admitted to Alcorcon hospital in south-west Madrid on Sunday after being tested positive to Ebola.

Early on Tuesday she was moved under police escort to Carlos III hospital in the capital and is said to be in a stable condition. Her husband has been placed under quarantine in hospital, public health director Mercedes Vinuesa told parliament on Tuesday, and a list of people she may have had contact with was being drawn up so they could be monitored.

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