Ebola victim’s husband released from hospital after 21 days in isolation

Javier Limón will speak to the media on Monday afternoon to discuss plans for legal action

Javier Limón is driven home by his lawyer after leaving Carlos III hospital.
Javier Limón is driven home by his lawyer after leaving Carlos III hospital.

The husband of Teresa Romero, the Spanish nursing assistant who became the first known Ebola transmission case outside of Africa, has been discharged from hospital.

Javier Limón left Carlos III Hospital in Madrid after spending 21 days in isolation because of his close contact with the infected patient. He did not develop any Ebola symptoms, health officials said.

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Limón, who has been acting as a buffer between his wife and the outside world, where media interest in the couple remains huge, left in the company of his lawyer at 9.45am. He used a different entrance from the one where journalists and camera crews were waiting for him, around 400 meters away.

Romero’s husband declined to make any comment but said he would grant a press conference on Monday afternoon. While in hospital, he threatened to begin legal action against individuals he accuses of attacking his wife’s honor “while she was half-dead.”

Another 11 people remain in observation at Carlos III after being in contact with the nursing assistant in the days prior to her admission, when she was already running a fever and was considered to have been infectious.

Romero herself tested negative for Ebola on Tuesday of last week and has been diagnosed as being officially free of the virus, but she must remain in isolation a few more days to meet World Health Organization (WHO) protocols.

She will also need time to recover from the damage that the virus did to her body, in particular her lungs, doctors said.

Romero contracted the virus after caring for an Ebola-stricken patient at Carlos III, where she worked.  It is still unclear how the transmission took place.

One of the doctors who cared for Romero at Alcorcón Hospital, where she was initially taken before her transfer to the specialized Carlos III center, said that he did not mind being kept in isolation for several days after being in contact with an infected patient.

“If the price to pay to save a life was going to be isolation, I would do it again,” said Javier Solana, a resident physician who also noted that Ebola is still killing and infecting thousands of people in Africa. “We live in a globalized world and problems are global,” he said.

Other people awaiting discharge after a 21-day quarantine include four nurses and four doctors. Five more individuals were allowed to leave last week, among them two hairdressers from a salon that Romero visited for a beauty treatment while potentially contagious.

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