Five patients under observation for Ebola virus released from hospital

Those discharged from Carlos III include a doctor, a cleaner and two hairdressers Nursing assistant is in a “low emotional state,” says a family spokesperson

J. Jiménez Gálvez
Teresa Mesa, friend of and spokesman for Romero and Limón, outside Carlos III Hospital.
Teresa Mesa, friend of and spokesman for Romero and Limón, outside Carlos III Hospital.Hugo Ortuño (EFE)

Five of the patients who were being kept under medical observation after having come into contact with Spanish nursing assistant Teresa Romero were discharged from Carlos III Hospital on Thursday. They had passed the 21-day quarantine necessary to rule out contagion of Ebola from Romero, who earlier this month was confirmed as the first person to have been infected with the virus outside of West Africa.

The patients included a doctor who treated Romero before her condition had been confirmed; a cleaner from the same medical center; two hairdressers who had given Romero a beauty treatment; and a friend of the nursing assistant.

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A further 10 people are currently being monitored in the hospital and will be discharged once their quarantine period is over. Among them is Romero’s husband, Javier Limón, as well as an emergency room doctor who treated the nursing assistant at Alcorcón Hospital and a number of other health staff.

Romero went to her local healthcare center in Alcorcón with a fever on September 30. A few days beforehand she had started her vacation, after having been on the medical teams at Carlos III that were taking care of two Spanish missionaries who had contracted Ebola while in West Africa. On October 2, she made a visit to a local hairdressers for a hair-waxing, and then on October 6 she was taken to Alcorcón Hospital with clear symptoms of Ebola. Her condition was confirmed by doctors the same day, although exactly how and when she became infected with the virus is still not known.

Ten people are still being monitored and will be discharged once their quarantine is over

Romero has managed to beat Ebola and is expected to make a recovery, but right now she is “in a very low emotional state” due to her isolation, explained Teresa Mesa, the spokesperson for the patient’s family. Mesa, speaking to the press outside Carlos III Hospital on Thursday, also explained that Romero was very upset after being informed that her dog, Excalibur, was destroyed by the authorities given the risk of infection they believed the pet posed.

Romero, Mesa continued, was suffering “a lot of muscular pain” and cramps. She will be kept in isolation on the sixth floor of the hospital until the chance of infection from her bodily fluids is definitively ruled out. According to predictions made by her family, she may have to wait another two weeks before she can be transferred to a ward.

“She’s receiving a lot of information without having fully recovered,” explained Mesa. “She doesn’t want any commotion and is completely overwhelmed. She has to take in the situation bit by bit,” explained the family spokesperson. “But now she knows about her dog and the media circus that is going on out here.”

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