Radio Sandwell News

Ebola virus: Spanish protests as nurse's dog is put down

2014-10-09 09:55:53


Spanish authorities have been criticised after the nurse contracted Ebola in the country's best-equipped quarantine unit

Health authorities in Spain have put to death the dog of a nurse infected with the Ebola virus in Madrid, sparking protests from animal rights groups.

Activists scuffled with police outside her home as the dog was taken away.

The nurse, Teresa Romero, is the first person known to have contracted the deadly virus outside West Africa.

She had treated two missionaries who later died from Ebola. The virus has killed 3,879 people, mostly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

A court order to euthanise Ms Romero's dog was issued on Tuesday despite uncertainty over whether the animal was also infected or risked spreading the disease.

On Wednesday about 50 animal rights activists held a protest outside the nurse's home in Madrid, shouting "assassins".

Two protesters were hurt when they tried to stop the van in which the animal was being transported, El Pais newspaper reported.

The fate of the dog, named Excalibur, sparked huge interest on social networks, after Ms Romero's husband, who like her is being kept in isolation in a hospital, alerted animal protection groups via social networks.

Teresa Ramos
In Sierra Leone, burial teams have gone on strike because they have not been paid

Ms Romero, 40, was part of a team of about 30 staff at the Carlos III hospital in Madrid looking after Spanish missionaries after they were repatriated from West Africa.

She told the El Pais newspaper that she might have become infected when removing her protective suit after cleaning one of the missionaries' room.

Striking workers

A World Health Organization (WHO) adviser has warned that more Ebola cases can be expected among medical staff, even in developed countries.

In Sierra Leone, burial workers have gone on strike this week, leaving the bodies of Ebola victims on the streets of the capital, Freetown.

Local media said the teams had abandoned their posts in anger over unpaid wages, but Deputy Health Minister Madina Rahman insisted on Wednesday that the strike had been "resolved" and the staff would soon return to work.

Teresa Ramos
Several aid organisations have criticised the global response to the outbreak, saying more needs to be done

In neighbouring Liberia, health workers say they will go on strike if their demands for more money and safety equipment are not met by the end of the week.

In the UK, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said Britain could be "proud" of its contribution to the battle against the virus, telling the BBC £125m ($170m) had been committed to the fight already.

He said "rapid construction" of medical facilities was ongoing in Sierra Leone after the UK announced it was sending 750 troops.

Meanwhile the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the US - a man who contracted the virus in his native Liberia - died in a hospital in Dallas on Wednesday.

The US has announced it will begin screening air passengers arriving from affected countries as soon as this weekend.

Ebola virus disease (EVD)

  • Symptoms include high fever, bleeding and central nervous system damage
  • Spread by bodily fluids such as blood, sweat and saliva
  • Fatality rate can reach 90% - but current outbreak has mortality rate of about 70%
  • Incubation period is two to 21 days
  • There is no proven vaccine or cure
  • Supportive care such as rehydrating patients who have diarrhoea and vomiting can help recovery
  • Fruit bats, a delicacy for some West Africans, are considered to be natural host of virus

Teresa Ramos

Source: bbc.co.uk

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