Europe evaluates Ebola measures as possible cases emerge
PARIS — Several new suspected cases of Ebola were reported in Europe on Thursday, amid heightened fears that measures to prevent the virus from spreading here are insufficient and that more people, especially health personnel attending to Ebola patients, are at risk of contamination.
The French and Spanish authorities would not confirm that any of the four people have tested positive for Ebola. But in each of the cases — one in France, three in Spain — a link to possible sources of contamination has been established.
All three of the Spanish patients were taken to the Carlos III hospital in Madrid, which has been serving as an Ebola treatment center since August, when a priest was transported there from West Africa for treatment of the virus. That priest died, as did another one who had also worked in West Africa and was airlifted to Spain in late September.
On Thursday, the Spanish health minister, Ana Mato, confirmed that medical personnel were treating a Nigerian passenger who had landed in the morning at Madrid’s Barajas airport on an Air France flight from Paris. The other passengers were evacuated and the plane was grounded in an isolated section of the airport. The ill passenger was then examined on board by a doctor, who ordered his transfer to the Carlos III hospital.
Also Thursday, a nurse considered at risk for Ebola was admitted to Carlos III, hospital officials said. The nurse had ridden in an ambulance after it had been used to transport María Teresa Romero Ramos to the hospital this month, they said. Romero, an auxiliary nurse, was the first person to test positive for Ebola in Europe. Romero had tended the second priest who had been flown back from West Africa for treatment. She remains in serious condition in the Carlos III hospital.
Fernando Simón, director of the Ebola crisis unit set up by the authorities, said that the nurse admitted Thursday was “a low-risk” case, and that test results were expected soon.
A third new case involves a priest who was part of the same religious order as the two others who died of Ebola in the Madrid hospital. He had returned to Spain from Liberia on Saturday.
In France, officials would not provide any information about a possible case involving another nurse.
If confirmed, it would be the first instance of Ebola infecting someone through transmission in France.