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Wednesday 17 September 2014

Irish aid worker: We need to avoid hysteria on Ebola

Published 15/08/2014 | 12:40

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Pat Kenny

An Irish aid worker has said people in Ireland have very little to fear from the Ebola virus.

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Darren Hanniffy is just back from Sierra Leone, where he spent time in one of the worst-affected areas of the country with the charity Goal.

“It is important we don’t become paranoid and hysterical about this disease,” he warned.

“It is something that we should not fear.

“The Irish health system is very well prepared and is preparing for the potential of a case or two, but that is so unlikely to manifest in to an outbreak in Ireland.”

The aid worker was on Newstalk with Pat Kenny, who defended him against a listener who called for international borders to be shut - like during the foot and mouth epidemic - following a false report that a suspected case of the deadly disease was in Ireland.

“You and I are talking here and if you had it I couldn’t actually get it unless I was intimate with you because it’s not airborne,” Mr Kenny said.

Mr Hanniffy, who was in the Kenema region, confirmed that you can’t catch the virus easily without making bodily contact with someone who is contagious.

He said people can be cured of the illness, and stressed that people in Ireland have very little to fear.

Appealing for funds for Goal he added: “It’s something we should be concerned about, but we should be concerned about the people of west Africa.”

GOAL has launched an emergency appeal and is seeking public support for its efforts to stop the spread of Ebola in West Africa.  To donate to GOAL, visit www.goal.ie, or telephone 01 905 9990.

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