Ebola contagion in Spain raises fears for Europe

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MADRID: Doctors in Spain hospitalized four more people and rushed to identify dozens of others at risk on Tuesday after a nurse was infected with the deadly Ebola virus, raising fears of contagion in Europe.

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The European Union demanded answers about how the disease spread in a specialized disease unit, while health staff protested over safety failures.

The nurse was identified by Spanish media as Teresa Romero, a woman in her forties who worked at Madrid’s La Paz-Carlos III hospital.

She became the first person to contract the disease outside Africa after caring for two elderly Spanish missionaries who died from the virus following their return from West Africa where the disease has killed nearly 3,500 people.

Officials said they were trying to find out who she came into contact with before being isolated on Monday. They were monitoring 52 people — mostly health staff.

“It would be very naive to think that there is no possibility of contagion,” the government’s health emergencies coordinator Fernando Simon told Cadena Ser radio.

Doctors at the hospital said her husband was also at “high risk” and was put in isolation. Another “suspect case” — a Spanish engineer recently returned from Nigeria — was also being monitored.

Another two patients were colleagues of the nurse.

One of them was taken in for observation after suffering from diarrhoea, the hospital said.

The other is a nurse who was in contact with the infected healthworker, Spanish newspaper El Pais reported, adding that she was hospitalized by precaution as she was running a mild fever.

AFP

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