Ebola: Disease claims first European victim as Spanish priest infected in Liberia dies

Miguel Pajares had reportedly been given the experimental drug ZMapp

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The Independent Online

A Spanish missionary who caught Ebola in Liberia has died of the disease.

Miguel Pajares, 75, died on Tuesday at the Carlos III hospital in Madrid, where he was being treated in isolation.

He was evacuated from Liberia last week to Spain, where he was reportedly given the experimental ZMapp drug, which had not been tested on humans.

Mr Pajares had been working with Ebola patients at the San Jose de Monrovia Hospital when he became infected.

He was part of the San Juan de Dios order, a Spain-based Catholic humanitarian group that runs hospitals around the world.

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Spain's Health Ministry confirmed it had obtained a course of the American-manufactured drug for Mr Pajares but the hospital would not say on Tuesday whether it had been used.

The priest's order had earlier said he would be given the serum, which aims to boost the body's immune response to Ebola with antibodies grown in tobacco plants.


Two American aid workers given ZMapp after also catching Ebola in Liberia are said to be improving but there is no way to know whether the drug is responsible or if they are recovering naturally like other survivors.

It is next due to be given to two doctors in Liberia and the manufacturer, Mapp Biopharmaceutical, said it had already run out of its supply in response to demand from an unidentified West African country.

The World Health Organisation held a meeting to debate the ethics of using an untested drug in attempts to treat Ebola, balancing the risks of side effects with the disease's rampant spread.

It kills around 60 per cent of people infected and more than 1,000 people have died so far, mostly in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Nigeria.

Additional reporting by AP