Ireland prepared for Ebola-Kenny

Despite having no screening at Irish airports and ports, Taoiseach Enda Kenny says though Ebola virus is of grave concern, Ireland is prepared and Defence Minister Simon Coveney last night chaired a meeting of the Government Taskforce on Emergency Planning.

The virus has caused panic throughout the world.

The current Ebola outbreak, the worst on record, began in March.

The World Health Organisation said Ebola had killed 3,879 people out of 8,033 cases by the end of 5 October.

Seriously ill Spanish nurse Teresa Romero, so far the only person to have been diagnosed after catching the disease outside Africa, “is at this time very ill and her life is at serious risk as a result of the virus”, said Madrid government spokesman Ignacio Gonzalez.

Six people, including Ms Romero, are currently in isolation at Madrid’s Carlos III Hospital.

She started to feel ill on 29 September but was not admitted to hospital until seven days later, potentially creating a large window of time in which other people may have been exposed. Her dog was put to sleep this week for fears it could transmit the disease.

In a newspaper interview published yesterday, Ms Romero said she believes she might have caught the virus after touching her face with an infected glove after cleaning the room of one of two missionaries who died from Ebola.

Meanwhile, an Australian woman is being assessed for the Ebola virus after she developed a fever following her return from a month working as a Red Cross nurse in Sierra Leone.

Queensland state chief health officer Jeanette Young said the 57-year-old developed a “low-grade fever” this morning and went to Cairns Hospital, where she was put into isolation.

Blood samples were taken and sent to Brisbane for testing.

Australia has seen a handful of people displaying symptoms of Ebola following trips to Africa, but none have so far proved positive.

The woman, named as Sue-Ellen Kovack by local media, returned to Australia at the weekend and had been in home isolation since.

This is in line with government policy that anyone who may have had contact with Ebola patients must abide by a 21-day incubation period at home alone.

“She’s done everything appropriately. She’s come back into the country, she was perfectly well at that time, she had no symptoms, no fever,” said Ms Young.

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