Tests ongoing on body of suspected Ebola case in Donegal

The HSE has said tests to assess a suspected case of the Ebola virus disease are being carried out in Donegal on a deceased person who recently returned from Africa.

It is understood the tests are being carried out at Letterkenny General Hospital.

In a statement, the HSE has said “its public health department was made aware earlier today of the remains of an individual, discovered early this morning, who had recently travelled to the one of the areas in Africa affected by the current Ebola outbreak.”

It said: “The appropriate national guidelines, in line with international best practice, are being followed by the public health team dealing with the situation. This means that the body of the deceased has been isolated to minimise the potential spread of any possible virus. Blood samples have been sent for laboratory testing to confirm whether or not this individual had contracted the Ebola disease.

“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.

“The risk of transmission of any disease is considered to be extremely low but 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,” the statement said.

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.”

The news comes less than a week after the HSE ruled out the Ebola virus had reached Ireland.

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