Ebola virus spread
Health workers in protective gear wheel a stretcher into a hospital with one of two Spaniards who were repatriated from Liberia, shortly after their arrival in Madrid on August 7, 2014. Reuters

A Catholic missionary who was working in Liberia has died of Ebola, Spanish press reports. George Combey had been working alongside Spanish priest Father Miguel Pajares, who was the first patient evacuated to Europe with the deadly Ebola virus.

Combey died at the ELWA Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia, after contracting the virus responsible for more than 1,000 deaths in West Africa, said the Hospitaller Order of St John of God, the religious order for which Pajares also worked.

The order says Combey was unaware he was infected when Pajares was evacuated from the region for Madrid and so remained in Liberia.

Few details are known about the death of Combey but the ELWA Hospital has received worldwide press attention in recent weeks for the huge numbers of Ebola deaths on its wards.

Father Pajares, 75, is the first European patient to be treated with experimental drug ZMapp, which has helped a number of American citizens with Ebola avoid death. He was transported on Thursday from Liberia to Carlos III Hospital in Madrid in a specially equipped military plane and remains there in a stable condition on an isolation ward.

Also evacuated was a Spanish nun, Sister Juliana Bonoha Bohe, 65, who initially tested negative for Ebola but is being held in isolation at the same hospital, according to Spanish media reports.

Spanish media reported on Sunday that two African nuns infected with Ebola who worked with the Spanish missionaries were denied permission to join them on the flight to Madrid. One of the African nuns, Sister Chantal Pascaline, died on Saturday at San Jose Hospital in Monrovia.

Ebola is spread by contact with bodily fluids, including blood, urine and saliva but the virus is not airborne. The incubation period is two to 21 days and the infection can only be contracted from patients who exhibit symptoms.