Tears of Spanish Ebola Nurse as She Leaves Hospital

Tears of Spanish Ebola Nurse as She Leaves Hospital

(AFP) A Spanish nurse who was the first person to catch Ebola outside of Africa fought back tears as she left hospital on Wednesday after being cured of the deadly virus.

Romero’s eyes occasionally welled up with tears as she read a statement, surrounded by doctors and her husband Javier Limon.

Romero, 44, was part of a team at the Carlos III hospital who volunteered to treat two elderly Spanish missionaries who caught the disease in Africa and died in Madrid in August and September.

She was diagnosed with Ebola on October 6, becoming the first person to catch the disease outside Africa, where nearly 5,000 people have died in the outbreak.

Tempers have frayed over the case, with health workers saying they had not received adequate training and equipment, and labour unions accusing the government of trying to deflect the blame onto the nurse for failings in its handling of the issue.

Health workers jeered Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and pelted his car with surgical gloves on October 10 when he visited the hospital where Romero was treated.

Spain tightened its Ebola control measures after complaints that included protective suits that were too small for some medical workers.

– ‘Critical moments’ –

There is no market-approved drug for treating Ebola yet, and no vaccine to prevent it.

Hospital doctors said Romero received various treatments, including blood plasma from an Ebola survivor, but were unable to say if any had been effective.

Her husband and 14 other people who came into contact with her were also sent to a special isolation unit in the hospital to be monitored for signs of Ebola, though none showed any symptoms.

Speaking in his wife’s name, Limon lashed out at the decision by Spanish authorities to put down the couple’s pet dog, Excalibur, as a precaution.

Experts say there is a risk that canines may carry the deadly virus, but no evidence that they could infect humans.

In the United States, the authorities spared the dog of a Texas healthcare worker who was infected with Ebola.