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Spanish nurse who contracted Ebola may now be free of the virus

Teresa Romero was the first person outside of Africa to contract the virus.

Image: Youtuve/GrupoINTV

A SPANISH NURSE who became the first person outside Africa to be infected with Ebola has tested negative for the virus.

Further tests this week are due to to determine whether she is completely free of the virus.

Teresa Romero, who was hospitalised in Madrid on 6 October, will have to undergo a second test before she can be declared free of the deadly virus, the Spanish government said.

Romero, 44, contracted the tropical fever after caring for two Ebola patients who died at Madrid’s Carlos III hospital, in the first known case of transmission outside Africa.

She will be given another test “in the coming hours”, according to a statement from Spain’s special Ebola committee, which added that her “health was… developing favourably”.

“I am very happy today because we can say Teresa beat the disease,” Romero’s husband Javier Limon said in a video filmed at the hospital where he is being kept under observation with 14 other people who had contact with Romero before she was diagnosed.

The worst-ever outbreak of the deadly virus has so far killed more than 4,500 people, almost all in west Africa, with close to 2,500 deaths registered in worst-hit Liberia.

The deadly virus, for which there is currently no licensed treatment or vaccine, spreads via contact with bodily fluids.

EU meeting 

Some countries have managed to get a handle on the outbreak, with Africa’s most populous nation Nigeria expected to be declared free of the deadly virus today after 42 days without registering any new infections.

Spain Ebola Spanish poster calling for financial help to fight Ebola. Source: AP/Press Association Images

European Union foreign ministers will meet in Luxembourg today to try and devise a new strategy to combat the outbreak, including by freeing up more funds and sending skilled staff to Africa.

Ahead of the talks, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the bloc should consider sending “a civilian EU mission” to west Africa.

“This would offer a platform to (EU) member states” to send medical staff to the region, he said at a health forum in Berlin.

One EU diplomat said Britain — which already has a navy ship bound for Sierra Leone laden with medical staff and supplies — hoped to “galvanise EU action on Ebola”.

“There is a real sense that this is a tipping point and we must get to grips with it now,” said the diplomat. “If we can deal with it in the country, we don’t have to deal with it at home.”

Another diplomat said there are plans for three nations to spearhead global aid to the worst-hit countries: the United States for Liberia, Britain for Sierra Leone and France for Guinea.

© – AFP 2014

Read: “We can’t give in to Ebola hysteria” – Obama >

Read: Ebola could be the ‘humanitarian disaster of our generation’ >

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