MADRID — The scene conveyed a First World precision: An elderly Spanish priest, stricken with Ebola in Liberia, arrived in Madrid on a special military jet. A helicopter buzzed overhead as ambulances transported him for treatment. Expressing confidence in the preparations, a Spanish health official said the risk of the virus spreading was “virtually nil.”
There was just one problem: the city’s infectious disease center had been mostly dismantled as part of a government cost-cutting plan and a temporary Ebola ward would have to be hurriedly constructed.
After the priest died on Aug. 12, the unit was closed again, and the same exercise repeated when a second Ebola-infected priest was airlifted from West Africa in September. He died two days later, and last week an auxiliary nurse who changed his diaper and helped clean his bed was found to have the disease. Read more