UPDATE: Just after midday on Friday, August 22 Dessie Quinn's family were informed that he was not killed by the Ebola virus. Tests carried out in a laboratory had proven negative.
Irish health officials are investigating the death of an Irishman in County Donegal with symptoms indicative of the Ebola virus.
The man, a native of Donegal living in the Dublin area and believed to have been in his 40s, had visited Sierra Leone a few weeks ago in connection with work.
The outbreak has claimed 365 lives there, and 1,350 in total.
The man’s body was discovered early on Thursday morning and brought to Letterkenny Hospital.
His identity has not yet been revealed, but the Irish Health Service Executive (HSE) confirmed that he had recently traveled to “one of the areas in Africa affected by the current Ebola virus disease outbreak.”
In a statement, the HSE said that it had been become aware of the suspected case early on Thursday, shortly after the discovery of the man’s remains.
"The appropriate national guidelines, in line with international best practice, are being followed by the public health team dealing with the situation," the statement read.
"Blood samples have been sent for laboratory testing to confirm whether or not this individual had contracted Ebola virus disease.
“Until a diagnosis is confirmed, and as a precautionary measure, the individual's remains will stay in the mortuary pending the laboratory results.”
The results of the test are expected on Friday. The man’s body will remain isolated in the post-mortem room at Letterkenny Hospital until then.
Meanwhile, people in the surrounding area were urged to remain calm as the risk of contagion is “extremely low.”
Dr. Darina O'Flanagan, head of the HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre, said: "In general, the risk of contracting Ebola virus disease is extremely low and would involve very close personal contact with the infected individual or their body fluids for there to be any risk at all.”
Last week, the Health Protection Surveillance Centre issued guidelines for treating Ebola to doctors across Ireland.
This marks the first official suspected case of Ebola in Ireland. The HSE denied previous reports that a patient thought to have contracted the virus was being treated at Mater Hospital in Dublin.
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