Spanish priest infected with Ebola virus in Africa going home

A Spanish priest infected with the Ebola virus in Liberia is the first patient to be sent back to Europe with the deadly disease.

An air force plane from Spain was sent on August 6 to get Fr Miguel Pajares, 75, who was in West Africa doing missionary work.

The illness has claimed the lives of nearly 900 people in the region since February.

There is no known cure and no vaccine to protect against the disease.

Ebola causes severe fever and, in the worst cases, unstoppable bleeding.

It is transmitted through close contact with bodily fluids, and people who live with or care for patients are most at risk.

Fr Pajares had been working in Liberia for more than five decades

When told he would be repatriated, his reaction was: “This news has lifted my spirits, it is great, I am very happy. It is worth fighting on.”

Spanish authorities organised his repatriation in line with World Health Organisation procedures.

Fr Pajares belongs to the Madrid-based, non-profit organisation Juan Ciudad and the Hospital Order of San Juan de Dios, which had requested the priest’s urgent transfer to Spain.

He will be treated at the Hospital Carlos III in northern Madrid, which specialises in tropical diseases.

The Spanish priest has been in quarantine at Saint Joseph Hospital in Monrovia, along with five other missionaries, since the death of the hospital’s director from Ebola.

Two of the missionaries, from African nations, had tested positive for Ebola and Fr Pajares asked if they could also be brought to Spain with him.

But Spanish authorities said they are only working on a request to help a Spanish citizen.

Two Americans who worked for Christian aid agencies in Liberia and were infected with Ebola were brought back to the United States for treatment in recent days.


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