Fianna Fáil Health Spokesperson Billy Kelleher TD has expressed relief following confirmation that the Ebola virus has been ruled out as the source of illness of a patient in an Irish hospital, but has called on the Minister for Health to make a statement on what procedures are in place to protect against the deadly virus and what preparations are in place in the event of an Irish incidence.
Deputy Kelleher commented, “Like many others I have watched with concern as the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus has spread throughout western Africa, while the international health authorities have been unacceptably slow to respond. This morning, reports of a suspected case of the virus in an Irish hospital act as a stark reminder of the importance of having proper procedures in place.
“I welcome confirmation that in this case Ebola is not the source of the illness, but I would also call on the Minister to take this opportunity to reassure the public about what processes he has in place in the event that we do have a positive identification of the virus.
“For example, in this instance, while Ebola was being considered as a possibility, was the Department of Health aware of the identity of other passengers who travelled with the patient into Ireland? Were reports that a containment unit had to be prepared at the Mater correct, and if so, why are such facilities not already in place given the seriousness of this virus threat?
“This false alarm should serve as a wake-up call to Minister Varadkar. Many people will have been alarmed by this morning’s reports and I am calling on the Minister to act quickly to give those people reassurance.”