Spain Priest with Ebola Stable in Madrid Hospital

August 7, 2014 - 8:05 AM

Spain Ebola

An ambulance transporting Miguel Pajares, a Spanish priest who was infected with the Ebola virus while working in Liberia, leaves the Military Air Base of Torrejon de Ardoz, near Madrid, Spain, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014 after his arrival in Spain. A priest who has been confirmed as the first Spaniard to be infected by the current outbreak of the ebola virus has been brought back to Spain for treatment. Pajares, a missionary priest based in Liberia, is one of the 1,711 reported cases to have been confirmed since March, when the most deadly wave of the condition began. As well as Liberia, where Pajares was based, the epidemic is also affecting Sierra Leone and Nigeria, with nearly 932 deaths reported so far. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)

MADRID (AP) — A Spanish missionary priest who tested positive for the Ebola virus was in stable condition at a Madrid hospital on Thursday after being evacuated from Liberia, health officials said.

The priest, Miguel Pajares, 75, was helping to treat people infected with Ebola and was one of three who tested positive at the San Jose de Monrovia Hospital in Liberia earlier this week. He was flown to Spain on Thursday.

Juliana Bohi, an Equatorial Guinean nun with Spanish nationality who worked with him in Liberia, was also brought back but she is not infected. Both worked for the San Juan de Dios hospital order, a Catholic humanitarian group that runs hospitals around the world.

Both Pajares and Bohi were being kept in isolation at the Carlos III center in Madrid, which is run by La Paz hospital.

They arrived at a military air base near Madrid and were strapped to stretchers enclosed by transparent capsule-like tents that were pushed by personnel in protective white suits wearing masks. A convoy of ambulances took them to the hospital with a police escort.

Rafael Perez-Santamarina, director of Madrid's La Paz hospital, said that initial medical checks showed Pajares was in stable condition and Bohi was in good condition. He confirmed that neither was bleeding, which is a symptom of an advanced stage of the illness.

Bohi and two other missionaries working at the Liberian hospital tested negative. Officials said Bohi would be retested in Madrid and released if the result was once again negative.

Senior Madrid regional health official Antonio Alemany said Pajares didn't have a fever and the prognosis was good.

Ebola, which causes some victims to bleed from the eyes, mouth and ears, can only be transmitted through direct contact with the bodily fluids of someone who is sick — blood, semen, saliva, urine, feces or sweat.

The disease has no known cure. Alemany said Pajares was being kept hydrated but that if experimental treatment being tested in the United States on two Americans diagnosed with Ebola proved effective, Spain would seek to be able to use it.

It is the first time that someone infected with Ebola will be treated in Spain.

A medically equipped Airbus 310 flew to Liberia on Wednesday to bring Pajares and Bohi to Spain.

Spain's Health Ministry said the case presented minimal risk to public health.

The other two aid workers who tested positive with Pajares were identified as Chantal Pascaline Mutwamene of Congo and Paciencia Melgar from Equatorial Guinea.