Ebola: Cured Spanish nurse Teresa Romero recounts illness

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionJournalists cheered Teresa Romero as she held a news conference

The Spanish nurse who became the first person known to have contracted Ebola outside West Africa in the latest outbreak has given an emotional account of her ordeal as she left hospital.

Teresa Romero said she had clung to memories of family when she thought she was dying and still does not know how she caught the disease.

She had treated two returning Spanish missionaries who later died.

She vowed to donate blood to other Ebola victims until she "ran dry".

But in her first press conference after being discharged from the Carlos III hospital, she also condemned Spanish officials for putting down her dog.

She said they had unnecessarily "executed" the mixed breed Excalibur.

'Big hug'

On her release from hospital, an emotional Ms Romero, 44, read a statement, saying: "When I felt I was dying I would cling to my memories, to my family and my husband, I was isolated and I did not have any contact with the exterior except with (husband) Javier by telephone."

She said she felt the disease "did not matter to the Western world until there was an infection here".

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Teresa Romero (centre, in checked shirt) was the first person known to contract Ebola outside West Africa

She added: "I don't know what failed, or if anything failed. I just know that I don't hold any grudges."

Ms Romero recovered after being given a variety of treatments including blood plasma from survivor Paciencia Melgar.

Ms Romero said that she wanted to meet the nun and "give her a big hug".

"I can never be grateful enough," she said.

An antiviral drug was also given to Ms Romero but the hospital was unable to say which method had been successful.

The nurse said that if her blood helped cure another Ebola sufferer she would "repeat it again until I run dry".

She also thanked the hospital staff for their support and said it would have been "impossible" to save her life without it.

Hospital chief Rafael Perez-Santamarina told reporters it was "excellent news after a very complicated month for everyone".

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Teresa Romero (left) left quarantine on 1 November

Ms Romero no longer posed a risk and could lead a normal life, said Jose Ramon Arribas, the head of the Carlos III hospital's infectious diseases unit.

Although she would be able to return to home, she would need "time for a full recovery from a very dramatic event," his colleague Mr Arribas added.

"The main joy is that finally it's been possible to save someone with Ebola and more importantly a colleague," fellow nurse Esther Bellon said.

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has killed some 5,000 people. The vast majority of the deaths have been in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

UK centre in Sierra Leone

Meanwhile in Sierra Leone, the British government has constructed an Ebola treatment centre, the first of six to be built to help tackle the virus there.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionThe BBC's Clive Myrie reports from a new Ebola treatment centre near Freetown
Image caption Six hundred more beds are planned at UK centres around the country in the coming months

The centre, which has 92 beds, is to be jointly run by the Department for International Development (DfID) and charity Save the Children.

British Army engineers and Sierra Leonean construction workers had been "working round the clock" to complete the new treatment centre, UK International Development Secretary Justine Greening said, with "the potential to save countless lives".

US and international treatment centres

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites