Donegal: Man who may have contracted Ebola 'had been in high spirits since return home'

Dessie Quinn

A man who died in Donegal, and who may have contracted Ebola while working in west Africa, "had been in high spirits since returning home", locals have said.

Journalist with Donegal's Highland Radio Barry White, said father-of-one Dessie Quinn from the Doorin area outside Mountcharles had been in good spirits since returning from Sierra Leone.

He is thought to have been living with his partner in Dublin, but was visiting his large family in Co Donegal when he was taken ill. One source believed he was working as an engineer with a telecommunications company in Sierra Leone before returning home.

"He returned home two weeks ago. A few local people in the village told me Dessie had been in really good spirits since (then)," said Mr White.

"He attended Croke Park for the Donegal-Armagh game two weeks ago and had also attended a couple of local festivals recently. Anyone I spoke to said he was in high spirits since he returned."

Health chiefs have stressed that the risk of transmission of any disease is considered to be “extremely low”, but precautionary measures have been put in place.

Mr Quinn's remains are being kept in an isolated section of Letterkenny General Hospital until experts determine whether or not he had contracted the Ebola virus.

“Until a diagnosis is confirmed, and as a precautionary measure, the individual’s remains will stay in the mortuary pending the laboratory results which are expected late tomorrow,” a HSE spokesman said last night.

Dr Darina O’Flanagan, head of the HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre, said a person would have to be in very close personal contact with an infected individual or their body fluids for there to be any risk.

“We await the outcome of the laboratory tests before we will know whether or not this individual had contracted Ebola virus disease,” she said. “The appropriate public health guidelines are being followed at every stage in this process as a precaution.”

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