Spain first case of contagion outside Africa

A Spanish nurse who treated two ebola victims at a hospital in Madrid has contracted the virus herself in the first case of contagion outside of Africa, health officials said.

“She is a health professional who took care of the infected with the disease who were repatriated and cared for at Carlos III” hospital, the director of Spain’s public health department, Mercedes Vinuesa, told a news conference.

Both the patients the nurse helped care for died from the disease. Spanish priest Miguel Pajares, 75, was infected with ebola in Liberia and died at Madrid’s La Paz-Carlos III hospital on August 12. Another Spanish missionary, Manuel Garcia Viejo, 69, was repatriated from Sierra Leone and died at the same hospital on September 25.

Both were members of the Hospital Order of San Juan de Dios, a Roman Catholic group that runs a charity working with ebola victims in Africa.

The assistant nurse was admitted to hospital yesterday morning with a high fever, Spain’s El Pais reported. Doctors isolated the emergency treatment room, the report said.

The news came as President Barack Obama said some foreign countries are not doing enough to confront the Ebola crisis in West Africa. He said the international community has not been as aggressive as it needs to be to help contain what he’s calling a top national security issue for the United States.

Obama says he intends to put pressure on other foreign heads of state to “make sure that they are doing everything that they can to join us in this effort.”

Meanwhile, an American video journalist who contracted ebola while working in Liberia arrived at a Nebraska hospital yesterday where he will be treated for the deadly disease.

Ashoka Mukpo, 33, will be kept in a specialised containment unit at the Nebraska Medical Center that was built specifically to handle this type of illness.

Mukpo was working in Liberia as a freelance cameraman for NBC News when he became ill last week. He is the fifth American with ebola to return to the US for treatment during the latest outbreak, which the World Health Organisation estimates has killed more than 3,400 people.

US ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan, meanwhile, is now receiving doses of an experimental anti-viral drug as he continues to fight for his life in a Texas hospital.

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital said doctors had begun administering brincidofovir. Doctors got permission from the federal government to use the drug after his condition took a dramatic turn for the worse.


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