Brussels/Madrid – The international medical humanitarian organisation Médecins SansFrontières ( MSF) confirms that one of its international staff members, a Spanish national, has been evacuated from Mali to Spain as a precautionary measure following an exposure incident.
The staff member, a Spanish national on assignment in Bamako, was injured while working with a patient who had confirmed Ebola. The staff member is not showing symptoms of the disease at this time and has not tested positive for Ebola. In line with MSF precautionary procedures, the staff member is being transferred to a treatment centre in Madrid using a private aircraft as a precautionary measure and she will be followed up for 3 weeks.
“Despite our strict protocols, risk cannot be completely eliminated. However, evacuating staff members who have possibly been exposed to the virus allows them, should they become ill, to be isolated swiftly and receive treatment surrounded by their loved ones”, said Joan Tubau, general director of MSF-Spain. “We hope that our colleague won’t be affected; that this incident will remain just as an incident so she can continue with her life. We ask the public and the media to respect her request for anonymity”.
For reasons of medical confidentiality, and to preserve the privacy of its staff member and the family, MSF will not provide any further comment at this time.
MSF started its intervention in Mali on October 24, just after the first case was confirmed in Kayes, in the north of the country. Later, when a new focus was detected in Bamako on 11 November the MSF team there was reinforced and its activities expanded to help stop the disease from spreading further.
MSF has been responding to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa since March 2014. Around 3,400 MSF staff are working in the region, including some 270 international staff.