An initial test shows that a nursing assistant who became infected with Ebola in Spain is now clear of all traces of the virus nearly two weeks after she was hospitalized, authorities said today. Teresa Romero, 44, is the first person known to have contracted the disease outside West Africa in the current outbreak when she tested positive for the virus Oct. 6. She has been in quarantine at Carlos III hospital in Madrid since then. A statement today says a blood test revealed that Romero's immune system had eliminated the virus from her body. The statement came from the Spanish government committee in charge of the nation's Ebola crisis.
A second test is needed to absolutely confirm Romero's recovery, says Manuel Cuenca, microbiology director at Madrid's Carlos III health care complex. Romero had treated two patients who died of Ebola at Carlos III hospital. The first, Miguel Pajares, contracted the disease in Liberia and died on Aug. 12 despite having been treated with the experimental drug ZMapp. The second was Manuel Garcia Viejo who died, aged 69, on Sept. 25. Health authorities quarantined Romero's husband and euthanized Romero's pet dog named Excalibur on Oct. 8 instead of placing it in quarantine, creating outrage among animal rights activists. (See why Spain was "mystified" about how Romero contracted Ebola.)