HEALTH

Ebola-Stricken Spanish Priest: Take Me Back, I Want To Be Treated As People

Juan Ciudad ONGD/facebook

 (Juan Ciudad ONGD/facebook)

Spain's Defense Ministry said a medically-equipped Airbus 310 is ready to fly to Liberia to repatriate a Spanish missionary priest who has tested positive for the Ebola virus. 

The priest, Miguel Pajares, will be treated at a hospital in Madrid after he arrives but public health general director Mercedes Vinuesa did not tell reporters which one.

It's the first time that someone infected with Ebola will be treated in Spain. 

Pajares is one of three missionaries being kept in isolation at the San Jose de Monrovia Hospital in Liberia who have tested positive for the virus, Spain's San Juan de Dios hospital order, a Catholic humanitarian group that runs hospitals around the world.

El País newspaper reported Wednesday that Pajares, 75, remains very weak and in isolation since Friday along with five other people in the Monrovia hospital. Three of the six tested negative for the disease.

The treatment Pajares and the others are receiving are getting, according to El Pais, is limited to fever reducer and fluids to combat dehydration.

Pajares had been caring for the hospital's director, Patrick Nshamdze, who died on Saturday. A first screening came back negative, so the priest continued attending to Nshamdze, who was eventually diagnosed with the disease.

The repatriation is something Pajares said he wanted. "I'd like to go back [to Spain] because we are having a very bad experience here. We are abandoned and we are not satisfied. We want to go to Spain and be treated as people, as God dictates," the priest said Tuesday to EFE. “I know it is very complicated because a plane would have to be chartered and that’s not easy," he said humbly in a weak voice. "I'm in really bad condition. I am unable to lift his head," he told the news agency.

Ebola can only be transmitted through direct contact with the bodily fluids of someone who is sick — blood, semen, saliva, urine, feces or sweat. 

In the U.S., an American aid worker infected with Ebola arrived Tuesday in Atlanta, joining a second patient being given an experimental treatment that has never before been tested on humans.

Nancy Writebol, 59, traveled from Monrovia, Liberia, to Emory University Hospital, just downhill from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She arrived two days after Kent Brantly, a doctor with whom she had worked in Liberia and who also contracted Ebola.

Brantly and Writebol were both infected despite taking precautions as they treated Ebola patients.

There have now been at least 1,711 cases of Ebola this year, which has no proven vaccine or treatment, according to new figures released Wednesday by the World Health Organization. More than 932 people have died in Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia and Nigeria as of Aug. 4, according to the World Health Organization.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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