An Irish man who recently visited Mexico is expected to be confirmed later today as the country’s first victim of swine flu.
The man, from the east of the country, is currently in quarantine and has been given the anti-viral drug, Tamiflu. He is understood to be doing well.
At a press conference Thursday, Ireland’s chief medical officer, Dr. Tony Holohan, said: “This is something we were expecting, this is something that we were predicting . . . the individual has been treated in accordance with our protocols.”
The passengers who were traveling with the infected Irish man will not be contacted because, Dr. Darina O’Flanagan, director of the Ireland’s Health Protection Surveillance Centre, said, the man is not thought to have been infectious at that time.
She added that public health doctors had interviewed the man and discussed how many people he had been in contact with, which is thought to be “very few.”
Ireland’s minister for health, Mary Harney, said that Ireland was well prepared to deal with swine flu, and said she has full confidence that the country has the medical expertise to deal with the outbreak.
Ireland’s ports and airports feature posters warning travelers of the dangers of the swine flu.
Passengers are being advised to go to their family doctor if they have any flu-like symptoms.
Meanwhile, European Union health officials who were meeting in Luxembourg have decided not to implement a travel ban to Mexico as part of its response to the pandemic.
Officials from across European Union countries have decided instead to focus on working together to contain the virus, to ensure that their response is co-ordinated.
They have also decided to refer to the flu as “novel flu” rather than “swine flu” so that pork exports aren’t adversely affected.