Doctors are ready to cope with threat here says HSE
IRELAND is "well equipped" to deal effectively with any case of the Ebola virus should it arrive here.
A spokesman for the HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre said that while West Africa is currently dealing with the largest ever outbreak of the virus on record, the likelihood of it appearing in Ireland is considered to be very low.
He said that should a case of the virus appear here, doctors and nurses are supplied with specialist knowledge to deal with it.
Meanwhile a spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said the Irish embassy in Sierra Leone has made contact with Irish citizens there and in neighbouring Liberia.
There are 77 registered Irish citizens in Sierra Leone and five in Liberia, although only six of these are in the most affected areas and they have all been in contact with the embassy.
The vast majority are in Sierra Leone's capital, Freetown, where, although there have been some cases of Ebola, the risk is considered to be low.
The Department is advising citizens to exercise extreme caution if travelling in the area and to register their contact details at the department's online facility before travelling.
A department spokesman said that all travellers departing from Freetown-Lungi and Monrovia airports are subject to medical screening, including temperature checking, before they are allowed to board their flight.
The Minister of State at the department, Sean Sherlock, has announced an additional €120,000 in Irish funding to fight the spread of the disease in the region.
The money will be divided between charities Goal and World Vision Ireland and will go to help contain the disease while raising awareness of how it is transmitted and can be prevented.
The minister said the continuing spread of Ebola "is extremely worrying and is having a devastating impact on already vulnerable communities across Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea".
The announcement brings Irish funding in response to the outbreak to €350,000.