Health officials in Spain rushed to contain the Ebola virus Tuesday after it got past Europe’s defenses, quarantining four people at a Madrid hospital where a nursing assistant got infected.
The first case of Ebola transmitted outside Africa, where a months-long outbreak has killed more than 3,400 people, is raising questions about how prepared wealthier countries really are. Health workers complained Tuesday that they lack the training and equipment to handle the virus, and the all-important tourism industry was showing its anxiety.
Medical officials in the United States, meanwhile, are retraining hospital staff and fine-tuning infection control procedures after the mishandling of a critically ill Liberian man in Texas, who might have exposed many others to the virus after being sent away by a hospital.
In Africa, the U.S. military was preparing to open a 25-bed mobile hospital catering to health-care workers with Ebola, before building a total of 17 promised 100-bed Ebola Treatment Units in Liberia. The virus has taken an especially devastating toll on health-care workers, sickening or killing more than 370 in the hardest-hit countries of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, where doctors and nurses were already in short supply.
Obama administration spokesman Josh Earnest said Tuesday that more passenger screening measures would be announced “in the next couple of days,” even though the White House remains “confident in the screening measures that are currently in place.”