Spanish HCW’s Mistake: She touched her face

[A]ccording to reports from Spain this afternoon,  Spanish Healthcare Worker (HCW) Maria Teresa Romero Ramos admits that she ‘may have touched her face’ when removing her PPE (Personal Protection Equipment). Doctor German Ramirez, a physician at Carlos III Hospital in Madrid, told reporters from the Washington Post that Ramos is uncertain, but she believes it happened this way:”She has told us of the possibility that her suit had contact with her face…. It could have been an accident. It looks like it was the gloves.”

Every HCW must wear a PPE with at least two pairs of gloves when working with a BSL-4 pathogen like Ebola. Sometimes, we make errors, but an error when working with Ebola patients can prove dangerous if not fatal.

For more about this recent revelation, see today’s Washington Post article via http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2014/10/08/spanish-nurse-says-she-has-no-idea-how-she-got-ebola-as-her-family-fights-for-their-dogs-life/

Ebola Report: Just What Happened in Spain?

UPDATE: DailyMail now reports nursing assistant is Teresa Romero Ramos, and that she is under military guard while in isolation. Authorities in Spain also are planning to euthanize Ramos’s dog as a precaution.

By Sharon K. Gilbert

[A]s the numbers of the dead and dying continue to climb in West Africa, new cases are being reported outside of Africa. Thomas Eric Duncan lied his way onto a series of airlines to hop from Brussels, to Washington D.C., and finally to Dallas. One might make an exception for Duncan; he merely wanted to make it to Texas so he could propose to Louise Troh, but now we hear of a nurse in Spain who has tested positive for Ebola.

CNN reports[i] that Teresa Romero Ramos, nursing assistant who contracted Ebola while caring for two missionary priests has been placed in isolation along with two others: Ms. Ramos’s husband and a second nurse who is exhibiting symptoms consistent with Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), however the second nurse has not tested positive for the virus. However, the second nurse does admit that she was exposed to the virus while wearing protective gear.

Protective clothing (Personal Protection Equipment or PPE) is all that stands between a health care worker (HCW) and Ebola infection. In a hospital setting, under ordinary circumstances, nurses and nursing assistants routinely use ‘universal precautions’ to reduce the risk of cross-contamination and personal exposure to pathogens. However, as strict as the ‘universal precautions’ protocol is, it is insufficient when dealing with a BSL-4 level virus such as Ebola. In Spain, while caring for the Ebola victims, all healthcare workers involved should have been give special training and observed a higher level of precaution. PPEs are vital to this protocol. Continue reading “Ebola Report: Just What Happened in Spain?”

Report says Spain must brace for ‘coldest summer in 200 years’

[S]everal days ago, a short article appeared in Spain’s version of The Local (an English language online news source). According to this report (link is below), European meteorologists are predicting the coldest summer in 200 years! In fact, the experts claim this year in Spain and other western European countries may rival that of 1816’s ‘year without a summer’. This is either hyperbole to sell papers, or if indeed the meteorologists used this comparison, then Europe should expect major crop failures.

The summer of 1816 saw record low temperatures across the northern hemisphere, including the United States. The northeastern US suffered the most, seeing frosts off and on throughout the ‘summer’ as late as August. Crop prices rose to the modern equivalent of more than $12 per bushel (roughly double today’s price for a bushel of corn)–and back then, corn served primarily as a source for food, not for fuel. Transportation in 1816 crawled compared to today’s zooming pace, so importing grains from the south (where temperatures were a bit higher) added considerably to the cost. It was a summer that winnowed out the poor and downtrodden.

Will this year be another ‘year without a summer’? It certainly is starting off with below average temps, but we’re not seeing late spring frosts here in Illinois. In 1816, the determined cause for that horrible summer was two-pronged: a quiet sun and a massive volcanic explosion in what is now called Sumbawa, Indonesia (Mount Tambora, then part of the Dutch East Indies). This was (at the time), the largest volcanic eruption since 180 A.D.–about 1600 years before!

Are meteorologists in Europe really expecting a summer with such dire straits? A quick look at Accuweather shows a prediction of ‘Mild and Dry’ for Spain (no frosts mentioned).  Thomas Ruppert, a German meteorologist who predicts mild and rainy added this caveat: “…weather predictions for the whole summer very difficult and not science-based.”

Spain braces for ‘coldest summer in 200 years’ – The Local.