Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Demands for an Explanation Grow After a Nurse in Spain Contracts Ebola

BARCELONA, Spain — Spain’s government came under heavy criticism Tuesday as it dealt with the repercussions of Western Europe’s first Ebola case, quarantining three more people and monitoring dozens who had come into contact with an infected nurse.
Health care workers, who have been sparring with the government over cutbacks, said they had not received proper training or equipment to handle an Ebola case. The European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, asked for an explanation, according to news reports. And some opposition politicians called for the health minister, Ana Mato, to resign.
At a news conference in Madrid, the officials insisted that they had taken all appropriate measures to prevent the spread of the virus. But in a sign of the government’s unease with the possible political consequences, a lower-ranking official, María Mercedes Vinuesa, director of public health, went before Parliament on Tuesday to answer questions, not Ms. Mato.
The infected nurse, whom Spanish officials had not identified, was described as being in stable condition. Her husband and two other people were quarantined, and monitoring was extended to about 50 people who were believed to have come into contact with her.
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Spanish Hospital on Ebola-Infected Nurse

Spanish Hospital on Ebola-Infected Nurse

Staff members at Carlos III Hospital in Madrid discussed how they were stemming the spread of Ebola after a Spanish nurse contracted the virus.
Publish Date October 7, 2014. Photo by Ana Sofia Garcia/European Pressphoto Agency.
Health officials have said the nurse became infected while treating a missionary, Manuel García Viejo, who died in the Carlos III Hospital in Madrid on Sept. 25, after being repatriated from Sierra Leone. The officials said the nurse went on vacation the day after he died, then told a medical center that she had a fever of about 100 degrees on Sept. 30. She was hospitalized only on Monday, initially in another establishment without a unit specifically set up for handling diseases like Ebola.
The nurse’s husband has shown no signs of having the disease but was isolated as a precaution, said Dr. Francisco Arnalich, head of internal medicine at the hospital.
Reached by phone in his hospital ward, the nurse’s husband told the newspaper El Mundo that the couple had canceled vacation plans after he had an accident at work, and that his wife had decided to spend a few days at her mother’s instead. He did not specify where her mother lives. He said in the interview that he felt fine. But he said he was angered to hear that the medical authorities were recommending, as a precaution, that their dog be euthanized.
The husband, identified by the newspaper as Javier, said his wife, identified as Teresa, had told him that she followed all the safety instructions set by the hospital and did not know how she could have become infected. The case is worrisome because Spain is a developed country that is expected to have the rigorous infection controls needed to fight the spread of Ebola.
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A second nurse who also treated the missionary was put under quarantine after reporting diarrhea, but she did not have a fever, the most common early symptom of Ebola, health officials said.
A Nigerian man who recently arrived in Spain is also under quarantine but tested negative for Ebola, according to Spanish health authorities. A second test was set for Wednesday.
Opposition politicians said Tuesday that Ms. Mato, the health minister, needed to explain any safety lapses, while some called for her immediate removal. Caridad García Álvarez, a lawmaker from the United Left party, said on Twitter that Ms. Mato should resign, saying she had ignored warnings from health workers about inadequate safety measures.
Ms. Vinuesa told the Spanish Parliament that the authorities were drawing up a list of all the people who might have come into contact with the infected nurse. She said Spain had different treatments for Ebola, but offered no further details.