Spanish priest is first Ebola-infected person to arrive in Europe for treatment

Father Miguel Parajes was medically evacuated from Liberia to Spain.


A Spanish priest conducing humanitarian work in Liberia was transported to a hospital in Spain Thursday after contracting the Ebola virus.

Father Miguel Parajes, 75, is the first Ebola-infected person in Europe since the outbreak began in February, the Daily Mail reports.

Parajes was serving patients in Monrovia through the Catholic organisation La Orden Hospitalaria San Juan de Dios. He had been in Africa for nearly 50 years, and was due to permanently leave the continent and return to Spain in September.

"I'd like to return because we have a very bad experience of what's happened here," he said before being evacuated. "We are abandoned. We want to go to Spain and be treated like people."

The priest tested positive for Ebola on Saturday, and both he and a nun he was working with were quarantined in Liberia. He arrived in Madrid in an isolation chamber, and they were taken to Carlos III Hospital, part of the La Paz Hospital health system. Parajes' condition deteriorated over night, but he is now in stable condition, reports La Paz director Rafael Perez-Santamarina.

Spain's Director General of Public Health, Mercedes Vinuesa, assured citizens that transporting an Ebola-stricken expatriate into the country was the right decision.

"The safety protocols we will use guarantee minimum risk," she insisted. All other patients were evacuated from the building that Parajes and the nun – who is not infected – are being held in.

Parajes' transport to his home country follows the medical evacuation of two Ebola-stricken Americans from Liberia in the past week.

Dr Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, Christian humanitarian workers serving the Ebola-infected population in Liberia, were transported to an Atlanta hospital on Saturday and Tuesday respectively.

The deadly virus spread from Guinea to Sierra Leone and Liberia this spring. Two deaths and several infected persons have been reported in Nigeria, and one deceased person in Saudi Arabia may have had the disease. The World Health Organisation announced Wednesday that the death toll from Ebola has reached 932.

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