Press Release

Update from the National Public Health Emergency Team on Ebola

The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) held its weekly meeting yesterday Thursday 23rd October to consider the level of preparation in acute hospitals in the unlikely event of a case of Ebola in Ireland.

NPHET noted that the European Centres for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has concluded that the risk of a case in the EU is low and the risk of transmission of Ebola in Ireland remains therefore very low.

The meeting was updated on preparedness in acute hospitals.

Hospitals regularly take part in training in relation to infectious diseases, including specific information sessions on Ebola. Relevant hospitals have appointed local Ebola co-ordinators to manage Ebola-related issues.

All Acute Hospitals have been circulated with directed guidance on preparedness. The distributed guidance has addressed issues such as:

  • The availability of appropriate personal protective equipment in the hospital, and staff awareness of its use
  • Protocols to ensure that all patients presenting with fever are asked at the earliest opportunity (ie at registration) about any recent travel history
  • Guidance to minimise the risk of cross-infection
  • Awareness to ensure that on-call clinical and triage staff are aware of the appropriate procedures/risk assessment processes
  • Protocols to identify the contact details for the National Isolation Unit where there is a high-risk case of Ebola infection and a referral is required
  • Awareness across hospitals about the specific ambulance transfer procedure for Viral Haemorrhagic Fevers including Ebola
  • Instructions to all hospitals on communication with GPs on referrals

The meeting has also updated on other measures including protocols and training to ensure that all health care workers are prepared and protected when treating a potential case of Ebola in Ireland.

Note for Editors
NPHET co-ordinates health sector responses during the planning and response phases of a public health emergency.  It links with other government agencies and groups dealing with national emergency management issues.  The latest weekly NPHET meeting to review progress on preparedness and coordinate responses took place on 23 October 2014.

As of 12th October 2014 there have been 8,997 worldwide cases of EVD, including 4,493 deaths reported by WHO.

On Monday 20th October WHO declared both Senegal and Nigeria to be Ebola free.