HEALTH

Health of Spanish nurse infected with Ebola worsens over the past few hours

Nurse aide Teresa Romero in an undated file photo.

Nurse aide Teresa Romero in an undated file photo.  (Facebook photo courtesy of El PaĆ­s.)

The condition of Spanish nursing assistant Teresa Romero, infected with Ebola in the first case of contagion outside Africa, has worsened over the past few hours, her brother told journalists Thursday.

Jose Ramon Romero said his sister's condition has deteriorated and she had been put on a respirator.

The nurse, 44, has been receiving treatment since Monday at Madrid's Carlos III hospital, where six other people, including her husband, are being held in quarantine.

A doctor who treated her when she showed her first symptoms was the latest to be admitted to the hospital on Thursday.

More than 50 other people who had some kind of contact with Romero are under observation in their homes and have been told to monitor themselves for symptoms.

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Romero was infected with the virus while providing care to two Spanish missionaries, Manuel Garcia Viejo and Miguel Pajares, who were repatriated this summer to Madrid from Sierra Leone and Liberia, respectively, and subsequently died from the disease.

Officials said she entered Garcia Viejo's room twice, once to change a diaper and another time to disinfect the room after the missionary died.

She said she probably contracted the virus when she touched her face while removing her protective suit after leaving the room.

The nurse is being treated with an antiviral medication and the antibodies of a nun who contracted the disease in Liberia and recovered.

Ebola spreads through direct contact with blood and body fluids of infected persons or animals, causing a fever and severe bleeding.

Since the outbreak of the disease in West Africa last March, the most virulent known until now, there have been 3,439 known deaths from 7,492 cases, mainly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

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