Ebola claims third victim at same Spanish charity

A Spanish charity on Monday announced a third member of staff at its hospital in Liberia has died of Ebola, saying it fears a lack of basic safety precautions let the virus spread through its team.

AFP| Last Updated: Aug 12, 2014, 03:54 AM IST

Madrid: A Spanish charity on Monday announced a third member of staff at its hospital in Liberia has died of Ebola, saying it fears a lack of basic safety precautions let the virus spread through its team.

The charity`s Ebola-struck hospital in the capital Monrovia has been shuttered, three of its personnel have now died and another, an elderly Spanish priest with Ebola, has been evacuated to Madrid for treatment.

The latest Ebola victim from the Saint Joseph`s Catholic Hospital is Ghanaian priest George Combey, who died of the virus overnight, his Roman Catholic order said in a statement.

"We wish to show our support to George Combey`s family at this difficult time," said the Hospitaller Brothers of St. John of God, which created the Juan Ciudad ONGD international aid group.
The haemorrhagic virus killed the hospital`s director, Cameroon-born Patrick Nshamdze, on August 2 and a week later it claimed the life of a nun at the same hospital, Chantal Pascaline, from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

It is not known exactly how the third victim contracted Ebola, said the order`s spokeswoman, Adriana Castro.

But a test had wrongly shown the first victim, the hospital director, to be free of Ebola before his death, the spokeswoman told AFP.

"What we fear is that as Patrick`s test showed negative, many of them relaxed," she added.

"They probably did not carry on taking such strict safety measures such as not touching and all that because they were treating him. That may be when he was infected."

The evacuated priest, 75-year-old missionary Miguel Pajares who is in isolation at Madrid`s Carlos III hospital for treatment with US experimental drug ZMapp, may have caught Ebola in the same way, she said.
"We don`t know 100 per cent but it is probable that is how Pajares was infected and possibly from Pajares the virus extended among people who were there," the spokeswoman said in an interview.

"Until they knew they were positive with Ebola they did not take precautions," she said.

Ebola causes fever and, in the worst cases, unstoppable bleeding, and can be fatal in 25 to 90 per cent of cases, according to the WHO.

The virus spreads by close contact with an infected person through bodily fluids such as sweat, blood and tissue.

The latest outbreak -- which the WHO says is by far the worst since Ebola was discovered four decades ago -- has killed around 55-60 per cent of those infected.