Wednesday 17 January 2018

HSE alerts Irish doctors to watch for deadly Ebola virus

The ebola virus
The ebola virus

Jennifer McShane

The likelihood of the life threatening Ebola virus appearing is Ireland is “very low”, according to the HSE.

The Ebola virus has already killed 660 people across West Africa. There is no cure or vaccine for the virus, which can kill up to 90 percent of those infected.

In the UK, public health officials have issued an urgent warning to British doctors to watch for signs of the virus arriving in the UK.

The HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) has also alerted hospital clinicians and GPs around the country of the outbreak.

“The HSE HPSC was alerted to this EVD Outbreak in March 2014 and the HPSC immediately alerted hospital clinicians and GPs around the country of the outbreak,” a spokesperson said.

“While the outbreak of EVD in West Africa is the largest ever such outbreak on record, the likelihood of the disease appearing in Ireland is very low.”

Ireland is "well equipped and its doctors and nurses supplied with specialist knowledge" to deal with a case effectively in the "unlikely event" of such a case appearing in Ireland, the spokesperson added.

“Ireland has a National Isolation Unit (NIU) located at the Mater Misericordiae Hospital in Dublin and is the national referral centre for high risk suspected and confirmed cases of VHF and other serious infectious diseases.”

Ebola virus causes diarrhea, vomiting and internal and external bleeding.

Last week a Liberian official Patrick Sawyer flew to Nigeria via Lome, Togo and died of the disease at a Lagos hospital.

The fact that he was able to board an international flight while ill raised fears that the disease could spread beyond the three countries already affected - Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

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