HSE confirms assessment of suspected Ebola case in Donegal

Letterkenny General Hospital

The HSE has confirmed it is currently assessing a suspected case of Ebola in Donegal, after the discovery of a man's body.

The public health department was made aware earlier today of the remains of a man, discovered early this morning, who had recently travelled to the one of the areas in Africa affected by the current Ebola virus disease outbreak.

The man's body has been isolated to minimise the potential spread of any possible virus, the HSE said in a statement.

"Blood samples have been sent for laboratory testing to confirm whether or not this individual had contracted Ebola virus disease," the HSE said.

Until a diagnosis is confirmed, and as a precautionary measure, the individual’s remains will stay in the mortuary at Letterkenny General Hospital pending the laboratory results which are expected late tomorrow.

Update 7.15pm: It is being reported the deceased man had been working in Sierra Leone and that a number of colleagues had contracted the virus there.

"The risk of transmission of any disease is considered to be extremely low," the HSE said.

"As a precautionary measure, appropriate infection control procedures are being put in place in the community and at the mortuary pending the outcome of laboratory tests."

Dr Darina O’Flanagan, Head of the HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre, said: “In general, the risk of contracting Ebola virus disease is extremely low and would involve very close personal contact with the infected individual or their body fluids for there to be any risk at all.”

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

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