HEALTH

Spanish nurse aide Teresa Romero declared officially free of Ebola, but still very weak

Doctors arrive to give a news conference at the Carlos III hospital in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014.

Doctors arrive to give a news conference at the Carlos III hospital in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014.  (ap)

Conclusive tests show Teresa Romero, the Spanish nursing assistant infected with Ebola, is cured of the virus. The announcement was made by her doctors Tuesday, signaling a huge step forward in her 15-day battle for survival.

Four blood tests over the past four days indicated her system had eliminated the virus, said Dr. Jose Ramon Arribas of Madrid's Carlos III hospital.

He added that Romero will no longer have to be kept in isolation but will be closely monitored for after-effects of the virus.

The family spokeswoman for Romero, Teresa Mesa, said the nursing assistant could remain hospitalized for about two more weeks.

"She is very weak," Mesa told El País. However, she said Romero is already thinking about how to help others by donating her blood plasma to infected persons. "I do not know if they have asked, but she has told her husband that is willing to do it."

Romero, 44, tested positive Oct. 6. She received plasma from a recovered Ebola patient, but health authorities have disclosed no more treatment details.

"She's recovering well, her spirits are high," Mesa told reporters. "She's not wearing an oxygen mask anymore. She's eating. The recovery is going great."

Romero was the first known person to contract the disease outside of West Africa in the latest outbreak. She had treated two Spanish missionaries who died of Ebola at the hospital in August and September after they were flown back from West Africa.

Romero told doctors she remembered touching a glove to her face after leaving the hospital room of missionary Miguel Pajares, who died Sept. 25. But Mesa recently said Romero does not remember that now.

Romero still doesn't know that Spanish health authorities approved the killing of the couple's mixed breed dog named Excalibur on Oct. 8 instead of isolating the pet. Nor is she aware of the global interest in her case, Mesa said.

Romero's husband and 14 other people who came into contact with her when she felt feverish after treating Pajares are hospitalized under observation. None have shown Ebola symptoms.

Based on reporting by The Associated Press.

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