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Tests ongoing on body of suspected Ebola case in Ireland

Source:Xinhua

Updated: 2014-08-22

DUBLIN, Aug. 21 (Xinhua) -- Ireland said on Thursday evening that tests to assess a suspected case of Ebola virus disease are being carried out in northwest County Donegal on a deceased person who had recently returned from Africa.

In a statement, Ireland's Health Service Executive (HSE) said that its public health department was made aware earlier Thursday of the remains of an individual, discovered early Thursday morning, who had recently travelled to one of the areas in Africa affected by the current Ebola virus disease outbreak.

It is reported that the tests are being carried out at Letterkenny General Hospital in County Donegal.

The man is said to have been in his 40s and originally from the Mountcharles area near Donegal town.

The father of one is thought to have been living in Dublin and had been working in Sierra Leone some weeks ago for a communications firm.

He had reportedly been receiving treatment for malaria but not as an admitted patient to any health facility. He was visiting relatives in Donegal when he became ill.

In Ireland, the HSE is responsible for the provision of healthcare providing health and personal social services for everyone living in the country with public funds.

The HSE said in the statement that 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 minimize the potential spread of any possible virus, it said.

Blood samples have been sent for laboratory testing to confirm whether or not this individual had contracted Ebola virus 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 Friday.

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

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, it 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," said Dr. Darina O' Flanagan, head of the HSE Health Protection Surveillance Center.

"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," she said.

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