A nurse who had treated a missionary infected with the Ebola virus at a Madrid hospital was just diagnosed with the illness herself, Spain’s health ministry declared on Monday.
The Spanish nurse was part of Madrid’s Carlos III hospital medical team and treated Manuel Garcia Viejo, a missionary who had aided patients in Sierra Leone and had been repatriated but died on Sept. 25th.
In a televised news conference, Ana Mato, Spain’s health minister, told reporters that the nurse had received positive results for Ebola in two separate tests and that all 30 health workers who had been on Viejo’s case were currently undergoing tests to determine whether someone else had contracted the virus. Mato did not reveal the nurse’s identity.
The hospital was selected and prepared to treat another Ebola patient, a Spanish priest working in West Africa, however, five days after entering the hospital’s special unit, the priest, August Miguel Pajares , died.
The health minister refused to discuss how health workers could have contracted the virus while working inside the hospital, with special equipment and having been trained to handle such dangerous cases.
“We are trying to determine whether all the health safety protocols have been followed,”
She assured her audience that health officials were taking all possible measures to guarantee the Spanish people’s safety.
The nurse diagnosed with the deadly virus had taken a leave of absence the day after Viejo died but contacted a medical center on Sept. 30th, after becoming feverish. Health officials say that the nurse led a normal life while on vacation, while not disclosing her whereabouts during that time. Her current condition is stable, Antonio Alemany told reporters.
It’s not yet clear how many people had contact with the infected nurse during the past two weeks, but authorities are already conducting an epidemiologic investigation to identify all these contacts. She is being kept in isolation at a hospital in Alcorcon, on Madrid’s outskirts. On Monday, she will be transferred to the Carlos III hospital.