Fianna Fáil Health Spokesperson Billy Kelleher has said the Minister for Health needs to move quickly to reassure the public that the health authorities are prepared to deal with cases of the Zika virus.

Deputy Kelleher made the comments as it emerged two possible cases of the virus are under investigation here.

Deputy Kelleher said: “The World Health Organisation’s declaration that the outbreak of this virus is now a global health emergency, as a result of its rapid spread in Latin America, is something that must be taken extremely seriously.

“I am urging Minister Varadkar to engage with his European counterparts and EU authorities and outline the contingency public health response that Government is putting in place to reassure the public.

“There is clearly a role for Minister Varadkar, the HSE and the Chief Medical Officer to detail what preparations Ireland has made in light of the rapid spread of this virus and the severity of its impact.

“We need to be prepared and highly vigilant without being alarmist in our response to this public health issue.”