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Ebola in Spain, visualized

The story of Teresa Moreno's infection as told in infographics by the Spanish media

November 17, 2014

[This is a guest post by Saúl Castillo*, about the Spanish media infographic coverage of the first case of Ebola in the country]



[Update: we deleted the infographic “Ebola, forgotten by Big Pharma“, by the Spanish newspaper La Razón, since it was obvioulsy plagiarized from this one, published by Nature. More about this here.]

Last October, the Spanish society faced the first case of human Ebola transmission outside of the African continent. The person affected was Teresa Romero, a nurse who worked in the Carlos III hospital in Madrid and had been previously taking care of missionary Manuel García Viejo, who had died shortly after having been repatriated to Spanish territory.

Spanish press was quick to report the transmission, its treatment, the disease’s development, the dubious political response during the crisis and the latter recovery of the patient, all in a frantic month full of information and constant reports about the case’s news.

In this post we’ll focus on the most interesting works published during the crisis after the Spanish nurse’s infection.

At the beginning of the crisis, even though Spanish press had already been reporting about the Ebola virus due to the devastating outbreak in Africa, the information was updated through infographics describing the disease and the modes of transmission.

First of all, I’d like to highlight this work as seen in Basque newspaper El Correo, focused on the disease’s description and transmission:

(image: El Correo)


We could see a similar graphic in El País, which included the disease’s evolution as well:

(image: El País)


La Voz de Galicia reported its symptoms too by means of this graphic summary:

(image: La Voz de Galicia)


This work published by El Periódico de Catalunya goes a bit into more detail about the virus, from its transmission to the fatal end it reaches in 90% of the infections:

(image: El Periódico de Catalunya)


La Razón was one of the most active newspapers in contextualizing the disease. During the crisis, it published spectacular spreads brimming with details about the outbreak and the infection of the Spanish nurse, as we can see in these two colossal works one of those works:

(image: La Razón)


From the moment the first case of Ebola transmission outside of Africa was confirmed, the media was fast to do an in-depth follow-up on the health status of Teresa Romero, with daily updates about the progress of the disease and her following recovery.

We could see examples of this kind of works in newspaper La Vanguardia, with the disease’s daily cycle:

(image: La Vanguardia)


As well as in La Voz de Galicia, focusing on the two main problems that emerged during the treatment in lungs and liver:

(image: La Voz de Galicia)


And a general summary in this infographic in La Razón, which includes the treatments applied to Teresa:

(image: La Razón)


Teresa Romero was isolated in a room in the Carlos III hospital in Madrid. Her room was illustrated by media such as ABC by using the descriptions provided by doctors and specialists:

(image: ABC)


This work published in El Mundo described how the hospital worked and the treatments the patient was receiving:

(image: El Mundo)


And once again La Razón summarizes all this information in this infographic that also highlights the patients that were isolated and put under observation because they had previously been in contact with Teresa:

(image: La Razón)


The dubious intervention by the Spanish government while handling the crisis was one of the things that was mentioned the most in newspapers. Contradictory statements, a lack of sensitivity, and a non-existent sense of responsibility didn’t help to calm the population down.

The press wondered what could have gone wrong for the nurse to get infected at the time she had been taking care of the Spanish missionary. A security protocol failure while wearing the protective suit was one of the hypotheses.

Newspapers like La Vanguardia described how to properly use the protective equipment:

(image: La Vanguardia)


El Mundo highlighted the differences between the African and Spanish protocols:

(image: El Mundo)


We saw similar Works in ABC or El Periódico:

(image: ABC)
(image: El Periódico)


La Voz de Galicia described in-depth the protective suit’s features with this infographic:

(image: La Voz de Galicia)


ABC published an infographic focused on the general protocol followed with this kind of patients:

(image: ABC)


As a summary of the whole crisis I’d like to highlight this thorough work published in El País after Teresa Romero had finally recovered. She was discharged a few days ago after testing negative for Ebola.

(image: El País)


Overall, Spanish graphic press was once again up to standards by always offering an appropriate context to the crisis situation, and giving its readers detailed and consistent information about everything going on during the recovery of the first Ebola patient outside of Africa to pull through.



*Saúl Castillo is the founder and editor of (inconsolata), a blog that highlights works of visual and journalistic design from newspapers and magazines around the world. on a daily basis. You can connect with him on Twitter (@saulcastillo), and also follow the new @inconsolata profile.

Written by Tiago Veloso

Tiago Veloso is the founder and editor of Visualoop and Visualoop Brasil . He is Portuguese, currently based in Bonito, Brazil.