First Ebola patient outside Africa is well and left hospital

November 6, 2014

A Spanish nurse who was the first person to catch Ebola outside Africa left a Madrid hospital on 5th November after being cured of the deadly virus, her doctors said. "Teresa Romero, a patient and employee of our hospital will be able to leave today, which is excellent news after a very complicated month for all of us," the head of the Carlos III Hospital, Rafael Perez-Santamaria, told a news conference. 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 in the current outbreak which has killed nearly 5,000 people, mainly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Romero was treated with human serum containing antibodies from Ebola survivors and anti-virals and was declared cured on October 21 although remained in hospital until she became stronger. "She will be able to lead a normal life, there is no more trace of the virus in her body," head of the Carlos III hospital's infectious diseases unit, Jose Ramon Arribas, told the news conference. "We have to give her time for a full recovery from a very dramatic event," he added. Spain tightened its Ebola control measures after complaints that included inadequate training and protective suits that were too small for some medical workers. The changes include closer monitoring of the people Romero came into contact with and more thorough training. The government also lowered the temperature at which a fever serves as a red flag of a possible Ebola case. Doctors said they could not be sure if the medication which they gave Romero had been responsible for her recovery. "In the absence of a control group, it is difficult to know what worked for our patient," said Marta Arsuaga, one of the doctors who have been working round the clock treating Romero.

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