A Nurse in Spain has become infected with Ebola. She was one of the nurses who cared for a repatriated priest who had been transferred to a hospital in Madrid and later died from the disease. Unlike the case of Thomas Eric Duncan where the infection came from Liberia, this infection happened on European soil making it the first confirmed transfer of Ebola outside the West African Region. The news comes as somewhat of a surprise given that the first diagnosed case outside of Africa in the US generated roughly 100 contacts. Many expected that the first transfer would have been related to Duncan. Media houses reported initial testing showed the nurse as positive which is expected to be confirmed by the Health Ministry later today.
The high rate of infection among Health Care workers has alarmed many people around the world and will certainty further increase fears that the virus will continue to spread uncontrollably. An emergency meeting of Health Ministry Advisers is currently underway and a Press Conference is expected later in the day.
Early symptoms of Ebola mimic the flu and may begin as soon as 2 days after infection. Typically symptoms become visible 2 weeks after contact with virus and progress rapidly from the 7th day onward. Ebola is only infectious once you are showing symptoms. Spain and Officials of the European Union are likely to track the nurse’s movements and keep an eye on all workers she came in contact with. High risk suspected patients are likely to be quarantined for a period of 21 days after which it is assumed you don’t Ebola if you have not shown symptoms.
The Priest passed away on the 25th of September placing the infection within the expected incubation period.
UPDATE: The Spanish Health Minister, Ana Mato has confirmed the case and says 30 contacts will be monitored.