15 December 2018
Supporters of Spanish nurse Teresa Romero, who contracted the Ebola virus, hold placards that read "We are all Teresa" in Malaga, Spain.  Photo: Reuters
Supporters of Spanish nurse Teresa Romero, who contracted the Ebola virus, hold placards that read "We are all Teresa" in Malaga, Spain. Photo: Reuters

Spanish nurse tests negative for Ebola

The Spanish nurse who contracted Ebola while caring for two infected priests in a Madrid hospital tested negative for the deadly virus on Sunday, Reuters reported, citing a government statement.

More tests were needed before doctors could declare that Teresa Romero, 44, no longer has the disease, the statement said.

Romero, the first person to contract the virus outside West Africa, was hospitalized earlier this month with a high fever and treated in an isolation unit at the Carlos III hospital in central Madrid.

She was treated with a drip of human serum containing antibodies from Ebola sufferers who had survived the disease and other drugs which a government spokeswoman declined to name. One was the experimental anti-viral medicine favipiravir, according to El Mundo newspaper.

There are a further 15 people in hospital, including Romero’s husband, under observation for signs of the disease.

Ebola has killed at least 4,546 people in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea in the recent outbreak, the World Health Organization said Friday.

Romero’s case sparked public outcry over the Spanish government’s handling of the outbreak, including its decision to put down her dog Excalibur even if it was unclear whether the pet had the virus.

Thousands of angry protesters marched on the streets of Madrid calling on the government’s health minister Ana Mato to resign after the pet’s death on Oct. 8.

Although Romero’s recovery would not have changed the odds of Excalibur contracting the disease, protesters had insisted the animal could have been cared for safely in quarantine, MailOnline reported.

Other developments:

– Spain has given its permission for the United States to use US military bases in an operation to send up to 4,000 troops to West Africa to help contain the disease, acording to a statement from the country’s defense ministry.

– A cruise ship carrying a Dallas hospital worker who may have handled fluids from an Ebola victim docked in Texas early Sunday, and the passenger at the center of a scare headed home after she tested negative for the virus, NBC News reported.

– The US is set to issue strict new guidelines telling American health workers to cover their skin and hair when dealing with Ebola patients, Reuters said, citing Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

– US President Barack Obama urged Americans not to give in to “hysteria” about the spread of the virus.

In his weekly radio address, Obama also said he is not planning to give in to demands from some lawmakers for a ban on travelers from the worst-hit countries.

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