A nurse in Spain, who had treated the elderly priest Manuel Garcia Viejo from Ebola in a Madrid hospital, is now also infected. This is the first Ebola transmission outside Africa, said officials last Monday, raising concerns about the readiness of the world to face the deadly disease.
The first case of Ebola transmission outside West Africa, which is the epicenter of the current outbreak, was announced by Spanish health minister Ana Mato at a news conference on Monday. A nurse in Madrid’s Carlos III hospital showed Ebola-like symptoms and after two tests, her diagnosis was confirmed – Ebola. She was part of the team, responsible for treating Manuel Garcia Viejo, a priest who had contracted the virus while doing missionary work in Sierra Leone. He died only three days after being flown back to Madrid and according to Antonio Alemany, a health official from the regional government of the city, the nurse entered Viejo’s room only twice.
Her current condition is stable, according to the authorities. Now, experts are trying to pinpoint the exact reason why she was infected. They are investigating into the medical team’s activities to determine whether they observed proper medical protocols. Also, all medical staff in the ward is being monitored and any possible contacts between the nurse and family and friends are being traced. Ebola spreads through direct contact with the bodily fluids of a sick person.
Meanwhile, the outbreak has killed more than 3,400 people, according to the World Health Organization and its updated figures from Friday. The overall number of confirmed, suspected and probable cases in Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia has surpassed 7,400. This and the rapid rates of spreading (cases double every two weeks), makes it the worst Ebola outbreak in history.
Yesterday, a group of researchers announced the results of an analysis on the Ebola spread patterns and current airline traffic data. They predict there is a great chance the disease could reach Europe by the end of October. And while they are looking at the possibility of Ebola’s importing from Africa, now the transmission itself happens here, despite the better conditions in Spain.