A Catholic humanitarian group based in Spain says a nun from the Congo who was working in Liberia has died of the Ebola virus. Fox News Latino reports, Sister Chantal Pascaline died “from Ebola in the Hospital San Jose de Monrovia, despite the care she received from a volunteer nurse.”
ENCA points out that Pascaline worked with Spanish priest Miguel Pajares, 75, who left Liberia on Thursday and returned to Spain to receive treatment after contracting Ebola. Unfortunately, it seems that Pascaline met a different gate than priest Pajares due to her nationality. The Hospitaller Brothers asked Madrid on Tuesday to “urgently” repatriate Pajares, Bonoha Bohe, Pascaline, and a Guinean-born nun, Paciencia Melgar, who was also infected with the virus. But officials said they would evacuate only the Spanish nationals.
Ultimately the inability to repatriate Pascaline left her to be treated by volunteer nurses in Liberia where she eventually died. Meanwhile, Spanish health authorities said Thursday that the priest — the first Ebola victim in the fast-spreading outbreak to be evacuated to Europe — was in stable condition with no sign of bleeding. The hospital is not providing medical updates for the missionary, at his request.
A 65-year-old Spanish nun Juliana Bonoha Bohe traveled with priest Pajares to Europe. Nun Bohe was tested for Ebola before leaving Liberia and tested negative. Upon arriving in Europe, the nun was tested again and still shows no signs of Ebola with all tests coming back negative. Doctors at Madrid’s La Paz-Carlos III hospital repeated the blood test on Thursday and said they would do so again in four days to ensure that nun Bohe is Ebola-free.
A Guinean-born nun, Paciencia Melgar, was also infected with the Ebola virus, but was unable to be moved to Spain for treatment since she was not a Spanish national. Her status is unknown at this time.
The latest Ebola outbreak is the largest and longest ever recorded for the disease and so far has killed at least 961 people, the U.N. health agency said Friday. It emerged in Guinea in March and has since spread to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria.
The Hospitaller Brothers priest and nuns are not the only ones traveling abroad to become infected with Ebola. American Patrick Sawyer infected four in Nigeria including his doctor.
What concerns some health officials is the fact that it typically takes up to 21 days for Ebola symptoms to show up after a person is exposed to the virus. This means that people can unknowingly be carrying the virus. However, a blood test can definitively prove if a person is infected or not.
[Image Credit: My Northwest]