Teresa Romero, the Spanish nursing assistant who became the first person to contract Ebola outside of Africa, is definitively free of the virus after testing negative in a second blood check, the medical team in charge of her care said on Tuesday.
“The criteria for being cured have been met,” said José Ramón Arribas, head of the infectious disease unit at Madrid’s Carlos III Hospital, where Romero worked and became infected after treating a patient with Ebola.
The first blood test came back negative on Sunday, but a second test had to be conducted 48 hours later to confirm the news.
Romero will in the coming days be transferred to a regular ward at Carlos III after having spent the last two weeks on a specially equipped floor with multiple security measures, including air locks for health personnel to don and remove their protective suits, and closed blinds to prevent the media from invading the patient’s privacy.
It is another thing what the virus may have done to her. We will keep monitoring her” Doctor Fernando de la Calle
Arribas said the nursing aide would soon be “completely cured” of the illness.
“Just like with any serious disease and any patient, what matters is their clinical evolution as the days go by. It is one thing for her blood virus content to turn out negative, and another what the virus may have done to her. We will keep monitoring her,” added Fernando de la Calle, a medic with the tropical medicine unit.
Family spokesperson Teresa Mesa said Romero would likely spend another two to three weeks in hospital under observation. Her husband Javier Limón, who has been kept in isolation along with 14 other people who had contact with Romero during the week in which she went about her daily life while contagious, will be discharged on the 27th or 28th, said this family friend.
The two other people who were treated in Spain for Ebola, the missionaries Miguel Pajares and Manuel García Viejo, both died at Carlos III. It was while she was cleaning out the latter’s room that Romero apparently got infected, although the exact manner in which this happened remains unclear.
The nursing aide received two experimental treatments simultaneously – plasma from an Ebola survivor and antiviral drugs – which makes it difficult to determine how much each one may have contributed to her recovery.