HSE preparing for Ebola outbreak 'for a long time'

Dr Darina O'Flanagan

The HSE has stated that it has been preparing for a potential Ebola outbreak in Ireland "for a long time".

Although the risk is very low, two rounds of guidance have been issued to doctors and healthcare professionals since 2002.

Sierra Leone today declared a public health emergency following an outbreak of the illness that's killed more than 670 people across West Africa.

"There has been guidance, initially published in 2002 and then updated more recently in 2012 to take into account the establishment of a new national isolation unit in the Mater, for handling these very virulent pathogens," said Dr Darina O'Flanagan, head of the HSE's Health Protection Surveillance Centre.

"So we have guidance and protocols that we have sent to all parts of the system, they all have protocols ready to handle a case should it present to the Irish healthcare system."

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