11:31pm Thursday 17 August 2017

PHA reassures public that Ebola risk in Northern Ireland remains very low

PHA reassures public that Ebola risk in Northern Ireland remains very low

The Public Health Agency (PHA) is aware of the current situation following a confirmed case of Ebola being diagnosed in Glasgow.

 The Public Health Agency  is continuing to work with Health and Social Care and department colleagues in Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK to ensure we are prepared for the risk of Ebola.

 Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a rare but severe disease caused by the Ebola virus.

 There is no change to the current risk assessment, in that the risk to the public in Northern Ireland is very low.

 The likelihood of an individual contracting Ebola is extremely low unless they have been exposed directly to blood or body fluids of symptomatic people or animals, or infected objects. It is important to note that EVD is not an airborne illness.

 The UK contingency plans for Ebola have always been based on the assumption that there is a low, but nevertheless real, risk of importing a case of Ebola from West Africa. However, it is important to remember that even if a case is identified in the UK, there are robust, well-developed and well-tested systems in place for managing unusual infectious diseases.

 Dr Richard Smithson, Consultant in Health Protection at the PHA, said: “Although the risk to the public in Northern Ireland is very low, we would reassure the public that we have robust and practical plans in place to deal with Ebola in the unlikely event that someone presents here with the illness.

 “It is important to remember that for Ebola to be transmitted from one person to another contact with blood or other body fluids are needed.

“The PHA is working with partner HSC organisations to ensure we have appropriate systems in place in the unlikely event that a case presents in Northern Ireland.

 “The overall risk of Ebola in Northern Ireland remains low.”

The Public Health Agency (PHA)


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