THE HSE HAS said today that it has not been notified of any official suspected case of Ebola in a Dublin hospital – but that it could not rule out that the virus was being looked at earlier this morning as one of several possibilities for a patient being treated there.
TheJournal.ie has confirmed with hospital sources this morning that a patient who had recently travelled abroad was being investigated as having a suspected virus. He is suffering from flu-like symptoms and consultants had been looking at Ebola as one of the possibilities.
A HSE spokesperson told TheJournal.ie that there is no confirmed case this morning. They also say that there is no ‘official’ suspected case of Ebola. The HSE has confirmed that the WHO guidelines are in place in Ireland and in line with this, there are specific steps that need to be followed by a hospital should they have a suspected case. This includes notifying HPSC and referring samples for lab tests.
These steps were not been taken in this case but the HSE could not rule out that Ebola is was not being “considered” among a range of possibilities to explain the man’s symptoms. The patient was being treated using barrier nursing methods.
A source in the Mater Hospital also confirmed early this morning that a room was being prepared in the National Isolation Unit for a potential arrival. However, the decision was made not to transfer him as consultants continued their investigations in a restricted area in the initial hospital where the man was admitted. The Mater has said that it is not expecting any patient transfer.
Ebola is a highly infectious virus and this is the first suspected case in the country. So far over 1,000 people have died across West Africa from the disease. Yesterday the WHO warned that the outbreak was worse than previously thought.
Unlike other infections like influenza, Ebola is not airborne. It can only be transmitted by direct contact with the body fluids of a person who has the disease.
- Additional reporting by Aoife Barry.