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There has been a "very, very small" number of suspect Ebola cases in Ireland

The HSE said it would not be providing information on other cases – but that there had been a “handful” of investigations apart from the Donegal death.

DOCTORS IN IRISH hospitals have examined a “very, very small” number of patients for the Ebola virus, but so far a blood test has been deemed necessary in just one instance: the examination of telecoms worker Dessie Quinn, who died in Donegal last week.

A spokesperson for the HSE told this afternoon that it would not be providing geographical or other potential information in relation to suspected cases.

Speaking at the weekend, HSE Assistant National Director of Health Protection Kevin Kelleher said there had been ”a small handful of cases” that had got to the point of “needing or maybe needing testing”.

Speaking to RTÉ, he said there were “a number of other instances where people would have returned from west Africa” and “there would have been investigations”.

They would have got so far and not got to the point of needing to have a blood test.

“We have quite a lot of communication with west Africa. There is always likely to be people coming back still who might then feel unwell and then we go through the process with them.”

Kelleher said that doctors examining someone returning from the region would ask a range of questions to determine their activity.

“If they just stay in hotels and had no contact with people, and no contact with people who are sick, then its almost impossible for them to catch the disease.”

The HSE confirmed on Friday that blood tests carried out on the body of Dessie Quinn had proved negative for Ebola.

Quinn, who had recently returned back from a period working in Sierra Leone, was found dead on Thursday morning. He had been treated in recent weeks for Malaria.

More than 1,400 people have died in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since the start of the year in the deadliest outbreak yet of the disease. Several patients who contracted the virus in west Africa have been also been taken home for treatment in the US and the UK.

There have been no cases in Ireland.

AFP news agency / YouTube

First recorded in Africa in 1976, Ebola is one of the world’s most virulent diseases.

The virus is spread, via direct contact through broken skin or mucous membranes, with the blood or other bodily fluids of infected people.

Scientists confirmed the first cases in the current outbreak back in March, and so far Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone are the nations worst affected.

Nigerian officials said today that two more people had been released from isolation after recovering from Ebola, leaving only one living patient with the disease in the country.

Meanwhile, a British nurse infected while working in Sierra Leone is being given the same experimental drug used on two US missionaries who have recovered from the disease, according to doctors in London.

William Pooley, 29, is being treated with ZMapp after being flown out of Sierra Leone on a specially-equipped British military plane on Sunday.

Two US missionaries, Dr Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, who were treated in the US city of Atlanta before leaving hospital last week, were also treated with ZMapp.

Read What is Ebola?

Read US doctor who contracted Ebola in Liberia to be released from hospital

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