Friday, October 17, 2014 9:04 am
The Nigerian passenger who was taken to a Madrid hospital from an Air France plane by police-escorted ambulance over fears he was suffering from Ebola has tested negative for the disease, the Spanish government said on Friday.
Another person also admitted to hospital with a fever on Thursday had also initially tested negative for the virus, the government said. This person had traveled in the same ambulance as Teresa Romero, Spain’s only known Ebola sufferer.
The cases are two of six people hospitalised with suspected Ebola symptoms on Thursday including the passenger on the Air France plane who developed tremors and prompted Spanish authorities to evacuate the plane.
Spain is on high alert for the disease after Romero, a nurse who cared for two Ebola-infected priests before they died, became the first person to contract the virus outside West Africa. She is gravely ill but stable.
Although the two people tested negative for the disease initially, they must have another test within 72 hours in order to be given the all clear, the government said.
Teresa Romero who was diagnosed with Ebola on October 6, is the first person known to have become infected with the virus outside of Africa.
She remains in a stable condition at Madrid’s Carlos III hospital, which Spain has designated to handle Ebola cases.
Four others were also to be tested, including a missionary who came down with a fever after returning from Liberia.
The unnamed missionary is a member of the Hospital Order of San Juan de Dios, a Roman Catholic group that runs a charity working with Ebola victims in west Africa. The two infected missionaries who Romero treated belonged to the same group.
“He is considered a low risk case since he did not have contact with people with Ebola since the San Jose de Monrovia hospital where he lived has been closed since August 1,” the Hospital Order of San Juan de Dios said in a statement.
Three other people were being monitored on Tenerife in Spain’s Canary Islands, including a Red Cross worker who had travelled from another affected country, Sierra Leone.
Health officials in Tenerife said they had hospitalised the man in isolation when he complained of a fever on Thursday after arriving on the island on October 12 from Sierra Leone via Brussels and Madrid.
The man underwent tests which have been sent to Madrid for analysis. He had not shown symptoms before Thursday.
They also put two people who live with the man into isolation in hospital as a precaution, although they are not displaying any Ebola-like symptoms.
There have been many false alarms about Ebola virus worldwide, with an assortment of fevers being suffered by suspects erroneously thought to be Ebola.
Nearly 4,500 people have died in the current outbreak, practically all of them in West Africa, out of a total of 8,997 confirmed, probable, and suspected cases have been reported in seven countries.
The United States, which is deploying up to 4,000 troops to West Africa to help contain the disease, has asked Madrid for permission to use U.S. military bases in Spain in its operation, a Spanish Defence Ministry source said on Thursday.
A decision is due to be announced on Friday when Spanish Defence Minister Pedro Morenes meets his U.S. counterpart Chuck Hagel in Washington. Madrid was set to agree to the request to use the bases at Rota near Cadiz and at Moron de la Frontera near Seville in southern Spain, the source said.