Recommended

Current Page: World | | Coronavirus →
Spanish Nurse Contracts Ebola in First Outbreak Case Outside of Africa

Spanish Nurse Contracts Ebola in First Outbreak Case Outside of Africa

Spain's Health Minister Ana Mato (C) arrives, flanked by unidentified officials, for a news conference in Madrid, Spain, October 6, 2014. Spanish health officials on Monday said that a Spanish nurse who treated a priest repatriated to Madrid with Ebola last month, and who died of the disease, had also been infected. Mato told a news conference that an emergency protocol had been put in place and authorities were working to establish the source of the contagion, in the first case of Ebola being contracted outside of West Africa. | (Photo: Reuters/Sergio Perez)
An ambulance carrying a Spanish nurse who was infected by Ebola, leaves Alcorcon's hospital, near Madrid,Spain, October 7, 2014. A Spanish nurse has become the first person to contract Ebola outside of Africa, casting doubt over measures taken in Spain to control the potential spread of the deadly disease. | (Photo: Reuters/Sergio Perez)
A medical worker in protective gear stands next to a special stretcher carrying a Spanish nurse who was infected by Ebola, outside Alcorcon's hospital, near Madrid, Spain, early October 7, 2014. A Spanish nurse has become the first person to contract Ebola outside of Africa, casting doubt over measures taken in Spain to control the potential spread of the deadly disease. | (Photo: Reuters/Sergio Perez)
View Photos

A Spanish nurse has contracted Ebola in what is being reported as the first known case that someone has come down with the disease outside of West Africa.

"We are working in coordination to give the best care to the patient and to guarantee the safety of all citizens," said Spanish Health Minister Ana Mato on Monday, CNN reported.

The woman had apparently treated a Spanish missionary and a Spanish priest who died after contracting the disease in West Africa and returning to Spain. The woman, who wasn't named, was checked into hospital this week with a fever, one of the symptoms of Ebola.

While there have been several cases of westerners being diagnosed with the disease back home after returning from West Africa, including a number of Americans, this is the first reported case where a person has caught the disease outside the region.

The largest Ebola outbreak in history has killed over 3,400 people across West Africa, with the countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea being the hardest hit.

The Spanish nurse had treated 69-year-old Spanish priest Manuel Garcia Viejo, who died in September in Madrid. While she remains in stable condition, the news is raising global concern, and the hospital where she's being treated is examining other workers who were in close contact with her.

"We have started studying all of the contacts the patient had since her symptoms began, including the health professionals who have been treating her," said Antonio Alemany, the head of Madrid's primary healthcare services.

Early detection and treatment has proven effective in helping patients recover from the virus, but it remains extremely deadly and has a 50 percent mortality rate. As many as 370 heath care workers are reported to have come down with Ebola in the hardest-hit countries, underlining the dangers of working in close proximity with the disease.

"At greatest risk in all Ebola outbreaks are healthcare workers," said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University, according to The Associated Press.

Earlier this week journalist Ashoka Mukpo became the fifth known American to have been diagnosed with Ebola, though he also contracted the virus while working in West Africa.

Meanwhile Dallas man Eric Duncan, who caught Ebola while on a trip to Liberia, remains in critical condition at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. He is said to be getting an experimental treatment called brincidofovir, which was developed to treat other viruses, but tests suggests it may also be effective against Ebola.

Sponsored