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Ebola alert in Republic of Ireland as man dies after trip to Sierra Leone

edbola1Health chiefs are awaiting blood tests for the killer Ebola virus which are being carried out on the remains of an Irish father-of-one who has died in Donegeal, Ireland.

Dessie Quinn (44) had been sick since returning to the Republic of Ireland from Sierra Leone two weeks ago. He had been working as an engineer in the West African country, and had been treated for malaria in Africa, Belfast Telegraph reports.

He was found dead in bed at his home in the small Donegal village of Mountcharles early yesterday morning.

“He was being treated for malaria and as you can understand his family are absolutely devastated,” local priest Fr Adrian Gavigan said.

“There had been no mention of the Ebola virus at all until the announcement by the Health Services Executive (HSE). It is a very, very sad time for his family.”

The HSE announced last night that Mr Quinn’s remains were being assessed in an isolated area of Letterkenny General Hospital, after being removed from his home to the hospital by a undertaker. However, the hospital was working as normal.

Blood samples have been sent for laboratory testing to confirm whether or not he died from the Ebola virus. The results are expected late today.

Mr Quinn had been well enough to go out with friends at the weekend.

He had visited pubs in Inver, around 3km from his homeplace of Mountcharles, on Sunday evening. It is understood that Mr Quinn had not been to see a doctor since his return to this country.

The current advice to hospitals is to screen patients who have returned within 21 days from a country where there has been an outbreak of the virus and who display fever or flu-like symptoms.

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.

“We await the outcome of the laboratory tests before we will know whether or not this individual had contracted Ebola virus disease.

The appropriate public health guidelines are being followed at every stage in this process as a precaution.”

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