Wednesday 22 October 2014

Spanish priest with Ebola stable

Published 07/08/2014 | 10:55

Aid workers and doctors transfer Miguel Pajares, a Spanish priest infected with Ebola in Liberia, from a plane to an ambulance (AP/Spanish Defence Ministry)
An ambulance transporting a Spanish priest with the Ebola virus leaves the Military Air Base of Torrejon de Ardoz, near Madrid in Spain (AP)

A Spanish missionary priest who tested positive for the Ebola virus is in stable condition at a Madrid hospital after being evacuated from Liberia.

Miguel Pajares, 75, was helping to treat people infected with Ebola and was one of three who tested positive at the San Jose de Monrovia Hospital in Liberia earlier this week. He has now been flown to Spain.

Juliana Bohi, an Equatorial Guinean nun with Spanish nationality who worked with him, was also brought back but she is not infected. Both worked for the San Juan de Dios hospital order, a Catholic humanitarian group that runs hospitals around the world.

Mr Pajares and Ms Bohi are being kept in isolation at the Carlos III centre in Madrid, which is run by La Paz hospital.

They arrived at a military air base near Madrid and were strapped to stretchers enclosed by transparent capsule-like tents that were pushed by personnel in protective white suits wearing masks. A convoy of ambulances took them to the hospital with a police escort.

Rafael Perez-Santamarina, director of Madrid's La Paz hospital, said that initial medical checks showed Mr Pajares was in stable condition and Ms Bohi was in good condition.

He confirmed that neither was bleeding, which is a symptom of an advanced stage of the illness.

Ms Bohi and two other missionaries working at the Liberian hospital tested negative. Officials said she would be retested in Madrid and released if the result was again negative.

Senior Madrid regional health official Antonio Alemany said Mr Pajares did not have a fever and the prognosis was good.

Ebola, which causes some victims to bleed from the eyes, mouth and ears, can only be transmitted through direct contact with the bodily fluids of someone who is ill.

The disease has no known cure. Mr Alemany said the priest was being kept hydrated but that if experimental treatment being tested in the United States on two Americans diagnosed with Ebola proves effective, Spain will seek to use it.

It is the first time that someone infected with Ebola has been treated in Spain. The Health Ministry said the case presented minimal risk to public health.

A medically equipped Airbus 310 flew to Liberia yesterday to bring Mr Pajares and Ms Bohi to Spain.

The other two aid workers who tested positive with Mr Pajares were identified as Chantal Pascaline Mutwamene of Congo and Paciencia Melgar from Equatorial Guinea.

Press Association

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