Ebola “just 421 km from Portugal’s borders”

Ebola “just 421 km from Portugal’s borders”

Portugal is on heightened alert this week after a nurse in Spain has become the latest health worker to be infected by the deadly Ebola virus.
As contingency measures are reviewed, health chiefs are adamant: the risk is still very low.
Even though Portugal is now effectively just 421kms from the seat of infection, hospitals are ready to act if the disease travels across our borders.
Even the Algarve “could be activated” within a half-hour period, the region’s hospital boss Dr Pedro Nunes told the Resident on Tuesday.
Faro Hospital has three sophisticated isolation units – in fact, they are prepared for airborne diseases, which Ebola is not. “There is really no cause for anyone to be worried,” Nunes assured.
“The Algarve is not part of the national plan because even though we have an international airport, flights from African countries only come in through Porto and Lisbon. Thus, those two centres have hospitals ready to accept anyone showing symptoms.
“But if suddenly there was the need for more beds, the Algarve could be activated within half-an-hour. We have everything we need here other than the high-grade protective suits that would need to be supplied.”
Talking to reporters on Monday, health director general Francisco George stressed that Portugal’s protective suits are all ‘grade four’, which is the highest quality.
Security measures will now need to be tightened “in light of the latest news”, he added, and health chiefs are understood to be in close contact with their counterparts in Spain.
The main concern is discovering how the nursing auxiliary came to be infected. She was part of the team that treated two missionaries flown home for treatment for the virus – both of whom died in Madrid in September. The nurse is then understood to have “gone on holiday” – and that is where the potential for panic has set in. Authorities are desperately trying to work out where the nurse went and who she came into contact with.
The emphasis, meantime, is on the fact that Ebola is only contagious when sufferers are already showing symptoms of fever and/or blood loss.