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Spanish nurse tells of 'critical moment' she caught virus

The Spanish nurse who became the first person to contract Ebola outside Africa believes she may have been infected after she touched her face with protective gloves after leaving the quarantine room where a victim was being treated.

Speaking from her isolation ward at Carlos III hospital in Madrid, Teresa Romero Ramos said: "I think the mistake came about [when I] took off the protective suit.

"I see it as the most critical moment, the one in which it [the infection] could have happened, but I don't know for sure." Last night, Spanish media reported that the 44-year-old auxiliary nurse only found out she had the virus from reading a news article.

Ms Ramos, who was in a stable condition yesterday, entered the room where the missionary Manuel Garcia Viejo, who had contracted Ebola, was being treated on just two occasions.

She went in once to change his dressings and also entered after he died to retrieve unspecified items.

Spokesman German Ramirez said Ms Romero revealed she remembers she once touched her face with the gloves.

Her husband, Javier Limon, is also quarantined at the hospital. He identified his wife in a video he sent to Spain's Animal Rights Party pleading for people to support his drive to prevent Spanish authorities from putting down the couple's dog, a mixed breed named Excalibur.

Dozens of animal rights activists outside the couple's apartment complex scuffled with police, trying to prevent an ambulance and workers in white hazard suits from entering to disinfect the couple's apartment and take away Excalibur.

However, the dog was put down later, after 330,000 people had signed a petition to save it.

Meanwhile, striking burial teams in Sierra Leone abandoned the bodies of Ebola victims in the capital.

State television reported that the dead were being left in their homes or on the streets of the capital, Freetown, because of industrial action by burial teams over pay. The bodies of Ebola victims are highly contagious.

Abdul Rahman Rarker, a burial team supervisor, said of the piles of dead bodies: "We cannot bury them because we are risking our lives and those in charge are depriving us of our money."

In a radio interview yesterday, the deputy health minister, Madina Rahman, said the strike had been resolved, although that could not be verified independently.

More than 8,000 people are now confirmed to have been infected, and 3,879 killed.

More than 560 new cases were recorded in just four days last week, the WHO said.

Belfast Telegraph