© AFP Photo / Spanish Defence Ministry
Doctors transfer Roman Catholic missionary Manuel Garcia Viejo who contracted the deadly Ebola virus, from Madrid's Torrejon air base to the Carlos III hospital upon their arrival in Spain. Photo released on September 22, 2014
A nurse who treated two Ebola patients at a Madrid hospital has become infected with the disease herself, health officials said. "Two tests were done and the two were positive," a spokesman for the health department of the regional government of Madrid told AFP.
Spain's Minister of Health, Ana Mato, says the authorities are working to distinguish the source of the disease's contraction as strict controls were implemented to prevent Ebola's spread. He added that there is no knowledge of any other cases.
The nurse is in a "stable" condition, according to officials. She reportedly started feeling sick on September 30. The patient whom she had been treating had died on September 25. Missionary Manuel Garcia Viejo had been helping Ebola victims in Sierra Leone.
In addition to the nurse and Viejo, Spain has had one other case, making it the third in the country. Another missionary, Miguel Pajares contracted the disease after working in Liberia. Pajares also died.
The 44-year-old woman is the first person to actually contract the disease outside of West Africa. Other cases in Spain - or more recently, the US - have been the result of individuals contracting the disease on the African continent and then traveling abroad.
The news comes as scientists release an estimate that there's a 75 percent chance the Ebola virus could spread to France and a 50 percent chance it could reach the UK before November begins.
"If this thing continues to rage on in West Africa and indeed gets worse, as some people have predicted, then it's only a matter of time before one of these cases ends up on a plane to Europe," expert in viruses from Britain's Lancaster University, Derek Gatherer, said.