In Sierra Leone, workers strike as Ebola bodies pile up | News | DW | 08.10.2014
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In Sierra Leone, workers strike as Ebola bodies pile up

In Sierra Leone Ebola victims lie dead in homes because of a strike by burial workers. Spain's decision to kill the dog of an Ebola-infected nurse has led to scuffles in Madrid between animal rights activists and police.

Sierra Leone's Broadcasting Corporation reported on Wednesday that burial teams had gone of strike, complaining of not being paid. As a result, bodies of suspected Ebola victims had been left lying in homes and on the streets of the capital, Freetown.

Sierra Leone's deputy health minister, Madina Rahman, said the dispute was over a backlog in hazard pay and had been "resolved."

Ebola is spread by contact with the bodily fluids of infected people.

Nurse touched face

On Wednesday, officials at a clinic in Spain admitted that a nurse might have touched her face with Ebola-tainted gloves while treating a missionary who died last month after being evacuated from Sierra Leone.

Carlos III clinic spokesman Dr. German Ramirez said that nursing assistant Teresa Romero had recalled touching her face after changing the diaper of the missionary Manuel Garcia Viejo. He died on September 25.

Romero is among six people, including her husband and three clinic colleagues, confined to an isolation ward. Her condition has been described as stable.

The Spanish newspaper El Mundo quoted Romero as saying she had respected strict rules while treating Viejo.

Court orders dog killed

Health workers entered the seven-story Madrid building where Romero normally lives Wednesday, acting on a court order to put down the couple's dog, Excalibur, while disinfecting the apartment.

Outside, police scuffled with animal rights activists who tried to stop the killing (pictured). Madrid's regional authority decreed that the dog had to be "euthanized" to exclude the "risk of contagion."

Romero's husband, Javier Limon, had pleaded for the dog to be kept alive.

Earlier, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy had rejected criticism of the country's handling of Ebola, telling the parliament in Madrid that "the Spanish health system is one of the best in the world."

WHO: Protect 'frontline' workers

On Wednesday, Zsuzsanna Jakab, the Europe director of the World Health Organization, demanded that authorities ensure the protection of health workers "on the frontline of the Ebola fight."

Protection procedures must be followed diligently, Jakab said in Copenhagen, adding that a spread of the hemorrhagic fever was highly unlikely in Europe.

She said eight Ebola patients evacuated from West Africa were now in the EU.

CNN, citing US officials, reported on Wednesday that travelers arriving in the United State from three Ebola-stricken West Africa nations - Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea - would face mandatory health screening by next weekend.

ipj/mkg (AP, dpa, AFP)

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