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Ebola kills Spanish religious brother in Madrid hospital

In an Aug. 12 statement to his order, Brother Jesús Etayo, Prior General of the Hospitaller Order of St. John of God, announced the death of Bro. Miguel Pajares from Ebola. Bro. Pajares had been evacuated by Spanish authorities from Liberia on Aug. 7 and was being treated in an isolation unit at the Carlos III Hospital in Madrid. The Prior notes that two other Brothers, a Sister from the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, and several lay co-workers have also died from the viral illness.

A nurse and a doctor for tropical medicine wearing isolation suits demonstrate the decontamination procedure as part of ebola treatment capability at Station 59 at Charite hospital on August 11, 2014 in Berlin, Germany
Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has been taking a heavy toll on health care workers in general. In an Aug. 11 press release, the World Health Organization (WHO) noted that over 170 had contracted Ebola and at least 81 have died. The Hospitallers have closed their hospital in Monrovia, Liberia due to the loss of staff. Remaining staff suffering from Ebola and those few unaffected as yet have been moved to the Elwa hospital.

The Liberian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare has been producing a report on the effects of the Ebola outbreak in that nation. The latest, through Aug. 7, states that 78 health care workers have been taken ill with Ebola and 35 have died.

Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) has lead the medical efforts in West Africa. Having been closely involved with previous outbreaks elsewhere in Africa, the charity has drawn upon its pool of Ebola outbreak specialists and surged all available personnel to the region. As of Aug. 8, MSF reported that 676 staff were working in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. The group warns that it has reached its limits, and that more help is needed from WHO and the international community.

The latest data on the Ebola outbreak from WHO was released Aug. 12 and is through Aug. 9. There have been 69 new cases reported from four countries in the last two days. There have been a total of 1,848 suspected, probable or confirmed Ebola illnesses since the disease was first detected. The illness is believed to have killed 1,018.