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Spanish nurse first to be infected with Ebola outside of Africa

​A Spanish nurse has become the first person to contract Ebola outside of Africa after she helped treat two missionary priests with the disease.

The priests were repatriated to Spain, and died shortly after reaching the country.

This infection has cast doubts over measures taken in Spain to control the potential spread of the deadly disease.

Officials unsure how nurse got infected

Spanish officials are unclear as to how the nurse, who was not named, contracted the viral infection, which causes fever and bleeding.

"At the moment, we are investigating the way in which the professional was infected." - Antonio Alemany, the head of Madrid's primary health care services.

The nurse was part of a specialist team who treated elderly priest Manuel Garcia Viejo at the Madrid hospital.

Health workers load Spanish Ebola patient, Catholic priest Manuel Garcia Viejo, into an ambulance on the tarmac of Torrejon airbase after he was repatriated from Sierra Leone for treatment in Spain Sept 22, 2014

This file picture shows health workers loading Spanish Ebola patient, Catholic priest Manuel Garcia Viejo, into an ambulance on the tarmac of Torrejon airbase after he was repatriated from Sierra Leone for treatment in Spain. A Spanish nurse was infected by the priest, who died in hospital a few days later. Photo: Spanish Ministry of Defence/Handout via Reuters

Health officials said Garcia Viejo was kept in isolation and that they had followed a strict protocol designed to protect health workers and patients at the hospital.

Alemany added that the ill nurse, who is married with no children, only entered Garcia Viejo's room twice - once after his death.

Nurse went on holiday after Ebola patient died

After Garcie Viejo died, the Spanish nurse, who is now in stable condition, went on holiday immediately on Sept 25 and began feeling sick five days later.

It is not immediately known where she went on holiday.

The viral epidemic has since claimed more than 3,400 lives - largely in West Africa. Last week, a man who contracted Ebola in Africa was the first to be diagnosed with the disease in the United States.

Source: Reuters

Related reports:

US Ebola patient in critical condition

First case of Ebola confirmed in the United States

Ebola could potentially infect 1.4 million people by next year

 

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