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Spain claims Ebola outbreak under control

Source: El Pais - Mon 13th Oct 2014
Spain claims Ebola outbreak under control

"The patient is still in a very serious condition." That was the latest news from the authorities on the health of Teresa Romero, the Spanish nursing assistant who was diagnosed with Ebola last week and has been receiving treatment in Carlos III Hospital in Madrid ever since.

The person delivering the message was Fernando Rodríguez Artalejo, a member of the scientific committee put in place by the government late last week, during a press conference at midday on Monday at La Moncloa prime ministerial palace.

Rodríguez went on to confirm that none of the people with whom Romero had come into contact, and who have been voluntarily put into isolation at Carlos III for monitoring, are showing any symptoms of the virus.

"Right now there is no other person in Spain who is capable of transmitting the virus other than the patient," he said in reference to Romero, who contracted Ebola while caring for a Spanish missionary who had been repatriated from west Africa after becoming infected. "We are in a situation of total calm," Rodríguez added.

The medical expert went on to explain that Romero would be "definitively cured" of Ebola when the virus was "no longer detected in her body" and she was "clinically stable." As for the existence of cases in Spain, he confirmed that this current crisis would have definitely concluded when "none of the patient's contacts develop the disease." The cut-off date for that will be October 27, which is when the 21-day incubation period, as measured from the last contact with Romero, will have passed. "We will be certain that the outbreak has concluded when none of the staff attending to Teresa show symptoms past that point," Rodríguez explained.

He also explained that Romero "continued to be in a serious condition," and stated that "every hour that passes while she is in this situation is critical." The good news, he added, was that "every day that passes while she fights against this illness she will be developing an immune response to the virus." He also explained that 50 people were taking care of the patient, all of whom are volunteers.

Rodríguez also reported that the government was developing a training program that would be given to all medical staff involved in "the battle against this illness. It is a wide-reaching program that will be dedicated to doctors, nursing staff, technicians, security guards, police, firefighters – anyone who forms part of the fight against the virus will be trained," he explained.

Rodríguez also sought to transmit a message of calm about Ebola. "It's very hard to transmit, given that it is only contagious if you have been in close contact with bodily fluids and when the patient is presenting symptoms."

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