As Spaniards fleeing the effected coronavirus zone are repatriated the Spanish nursing assistant who was infected with Ebola in the earlier Africa scare has said she hopes the country’s health system is more ready to face the new threat of the coronavirus.
Teresa Romero, 50, survived after being infected with the Ebola virus after she treated two victims who turned up at the hospital Carlos III of Madrid in the Spanish capital five years ago.
She has now spoken to local TV channel Antena 3 about the possibility of the coronavirus reaching the country.
She said: “I hope the health system is ready to face it”, and added that she and other medical professionals were working to make themselves ready.
The nurse added: “I hope nobody with the virus comes, but if we are going to have a case, I do not think it will get so far, I think they are doing the things properly.”
There have been a reported 4,682 cases of coronavirus worldwide, with just four in Europe.
She said that when she was working as a nursing assistant in Madrid facing Ebola virus, they were working with an unknown disease and they acted “without a defined protocol”. She said they had made mistakes like when they helped one another to dress and undress, adding “we were learning from mistakes”.
Speaking about her case with Ebola, she said: “We left the suffering behind, but I have needed a lot of psychological help, I have got out from the well I was stuck in.”
She admitted that was worried when she first became ill and was hospitalised, saying; “I suspected something from the symptoms, I was sick, vomiting, had diarrhoea, but I was aware when I saw my mobile phone to find more information and El Pais (Spanish newspaper) published that a nurse had been reported as positive, I was not told.
“There are moments of panic and calmness, moments of remembering the missionaries who were infected, I thought I had the same fate.”
She added: “I remember a night that I was very tired, and I was in the bed and it was one of the hardest moments I can remember as I could feel as if death was over my shoulder and if I decided to turn around, it would catch me.”
She remembers that one day when she was tired she asked the hospital staff to “help me die, but they did not do it”.
Teresa had to be a month in isolation after becoming the first person outside Africa to contract Ebola while she was part of a team caring for two Spanish priests who had returned to Madrid with the virus.