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Man with 'flu-like' symptoms given 'all clear' for Ebola

Health chiefs declared there are no confirmed, or suspected, cases of Ebola in Ireland.

A HSE statement today was issued in response to a report that a man with 'flu-like' symptoms was investigated for Ebola in a Dublin hospital but was later confirmed as not having the deadly virus.

The report online had earlier stated that the National Isolation Unit at the Mater Hospital was preparing to treat a patient with suspected Ebola.

But an update said that medical consultants later ruled out the possibility of Ebola and precautions were "stood down".

After the 'all clear' was reported, a spokeswoman for Beaumont Hospital confirmed "no patient is being investigated" for Ebola.

She declined to elaborate when asked if a patient had been investigated in the recent past, citing rules of patient confidentiality.

Unconfirmed reports had earlier stated a man was treated at an unnamed Dublin hospital using protective "barrier nursing" until he was confirmed to be in the clear for the disease.

The man had travelled abroad recently but had not visited places were Ebola outbreaks had been reported.

Meanwhile, a leading doctor with the Tropical Medical Bureau has said it is likely that we will see suspected case of Ebola in Ireland in the future because we have a large population from west Africa who travel.

EPIDEMIC

Dr Graham Fry said "it is likely we will see suspected cases that then turn out to be something other than Ebola, such as typhoid."

"The risk of Ebola is immensely small, but with the numbers of people travelling it is likely we will get people who come back to Ireland saying they are not well for some reason or another, but that doesn't mean they have Ebola," Dr Fry told the Herald.

Dr Fry said the Isolation Unit in the Mater Hospital was prepared in recent weeks for the potential of having to treat any suspected Ebola cases that might arise.

But this did not mean there was any certainty there would ever be a case here.

The World Health Organisation has said the magnitude of the Ebola epidemic in west Africa has been "vastly" underestimated.

The organisation said it was coordinating "a massive scaling up of the international response", in an attempt to tackle the worst epidemic of Ebola since its discovery four decades ago.

It said "extraordinary measures" were needed to contain the outbreak that began in Guinea in February and has since spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.

aokeeffe@herald.ie


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