The Catholic religious order running a hospital in Liberia lost another worker Tuesday when Fr. Miguel Parajes succumbed to the Ebola virus, the International Business Times reports.
Fr. Pajares, a Spanish national, had been evacuated from Liberia last week and was given the same experimental treatment that seems to be helping the infected American missionaries Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol. (RELATED: Experimental Ebola Treatment Developed By Big Tobacco)
Fr. Pajares had pleaded with the Spanish government to evacuate her and another infected African nun, but they refused to do so, only evacuating Spanish nationals. Spanish nun Sr. Juliana Bonoha Bohe was evacuated alongside Fr. Pajares, but tested negative for Ebola upon arriving at the Carlos III hospital in Spain.
“We are passing through a very difficult time for our Hospitaller Family, having lost three Brothers, one Sister and several Co-workers as a result of this Ebola epidemic,” wrote the Order’s Superior General Br. Jesús Etayo. “I therefore urge everyone to unite in prayer, hospitality and fraternity. Although the news fills us with sadness and grief, we have to accept the life of our Brothers, given up like Christ’s to the point of dying after contracting this virus, in the light of faith, with hope and a healthy sense of pride in their faithfulness and radical testimony to hospitality.”
Fr. Pajares, 75, had worked in Africa for nearly 50 years, and was due to retire in Spain in September. His body will be cremated Wednesday to avoid further public health risks, the hospital announced. Pajares is the first Ebola victim to die in Europe.
According to a Monday report from the World Health Organization, between Aug. 7 and 9 alone 69 new cases of Ebola and 52 deaths were reported from Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. Over 1,000 have died since the outbreak began a few months ago.
St. Joseph’s is run by the Brothers Hospitaller of St. John of God, a Roman Catholic mendicant order founded to care for the sick by Juan Ciudad in the 16th century.