Spain has carried out far more Ebola tests this summer than were previously known about. All of the tests apart from the one have come back negative.
A spokeswoman for Spain’s Health Ministry today confirmed to The Spain Report that “at least 10″ Ebola tests have been carried out on people in Spain since April, far more than were previously known about: “and they likely won’t be the last”, she said.
“The tests have all been carried out to discount the possibility of Ebola Virus in the person with possible symptoms”.
Asked why Spain’s Health Ministry had not previously made all the “at least 10″ cases public, the spokeswoman said: “the World Health Organisation does not say countries must communicate every possible case or test” adding that: “other countries do not do so either”.
She could not provide details of which Spanish cities or regions the other tests had taken place in, or when they had taken place.
“Obviously if a test gave a positive result, we would tell people about it”.
Following complaints by medical and Civil Guard trade unions that their staff might not be fully prepared for an Ebola outbreak in Spain, in terms of protocol training and resource availability, the spokeswoman said that Spain’s Health Ministry is: “happy with the level of preparedness and protocol awareness” in Spanish hospitals, which are normally the responsibility of Spain’s 17 regional governments.
She said, however, that no special instructions had been sent to regional health authorities, despite complaints by healthcare workers in Madrid last month that the specialist pandemic emergency ward at Madrid’s Carlos III Hospital needed to be prepared in a hurry following its closure due to regional government cutbacks: “All Spanish regions are prepared to deal with possible Ebola cases, negative pressure chambers are not necessary”.
“Spanish hospitals and medical staff are fully prepared to deal with possible Ebola cases.”
The first Ebola scare in Spain this summer was in June in Valencia, when a man from Guinea was tested after a Civil Guard agent saw him at passport control on arrival at Valencia airport on a flight from Morocco. Spain’s Health Ministry initially told The Spain Report that he had arrived on a boat and had been contained at sea.
The second story was Brother Miguel Pajares, the 75-year-old Spanish priest who had been taking care of Ebola patients in Liberia. He tested positive and was repatriated on a military aircraft to Madrid, where he died on August 5.
The third was an Iberia flight from Nigeria on August 9, when two children complained of being unwell. Doctors discounted the Ebola Virus.
The fourth Ebola story was another scare last weekend when a Nigerian man was admitted to hospital in Alicante with Ebola-like symptoms, including “high fever, physical discomfort, vomiting and bleeding”. Regional health authorities activated alert protocols and the test esults came back negative the following day.
The samples and test results were processed much more quickly than in the Valencia scare in June.