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The chances of Ebola reaching Ireland? 'Very low'

That’s according to the National Public Health Emergency Team.

A woman was taken from her home in Tyrrelstown and brought to the Mater Hospital with a suspected case of Ebola. She later tested negative.
A woman was taken from her home in Tyrrelstown and brought to the Mater Hospital with a suspected case of Ebola. She later tested negative.
Image: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

THE NATIONAL PUBLIC Health Emergency Team (NHPET) has met to discuss the likelihood of Ebola reaching Ireland.

The NHPET has said, as the European Centres for Disease Prevention and Control recently concluded that the risk of a case in the EU is low, the risk of transmission of Ebola in Ireland remains “very low”.

During yesterday’s meeting, the team was informed of the preparedness of Irish hospitals in dealing with Ebola, should they need to.

Hospitals regularly take part in training in relation to infectious diseases and this now includes specific information sessions on Ebola.

Relevant hospitals have appointed local Ebola co-ordinators to manage issues related to the virus and some have already practised dry runs for dealing with infected patients.

All acute hositals have been sent guidelines on the following subjects:

  • The availability of appropriate personal protective equipment in the hospital, and staff awareness of its use
  • Protocols to ensure that all patients presenting with fever are asked at the earliest opportunity (i.e. at registration) about any recent travel history
  • Guidance to minimise the risk of cross-infection
  • Awareness to ensure that on-call clinical and triage staff are aware of the appropriate procedures/risk assessment processes
  • Protocols to identify the contact details for the National Isolation Unit where there is a high-risk case of Ebola infection and a referral is required
  • Awareness across hospitals about the specific ambulance transfer procedure for Viral Haemorrhagic Fevers including Ebola
  • Instructions to all hospitals on communication with GPs on referrals

There have been about 9,000 cases of Ebola to date. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has reported 4,493 deaths.

WHO declared both Senegal and Nigeria to be Ebola free on Monday.

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A New York-based doctor who recently returned from West Africa has become the fourth person in the US to test positive for the virus, while a Spanish nurse who was the first person to catch the virus outside of Africa has been cured.

Earlier this week, a woman who had displayed symptoms of the virus tested negative for Ebola at the Mater Hospital in Dublin.

Read: Is Ireland prepared to deal with Ebola? Doctors aren’t convinced

Confirmed: 23 tests for Ebola performed on 14 people in Ireland

About the author:

Órla Ryan

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