Public Health Agency statement - Ebola

11/11/2014

The Public Health Agency (PHA) has confirmed that a person who has recently travelled in an area affected by Ebola has been assessed in accordance with the national risk assessment protocol.

The patient is currently being treated in the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, and has tested positive for malaria. The patient has also been tested for Ebola, as a precautionary measure, and this test is negative. The patient is being treated for malaria and will continue to be monitored.

The PHA has advised that there is no increased risk to the wider community.
Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, can be a severe illness in humans. The incubation period, that is, the time interval from infection with the virus to onset of symptoms, is 2 to 21 days.

It is important to note that the likelihood of contracting EVD is extremely low unless the person had come into contact with blood or body fluids of a symptomatic person. Therefore we would like to stress that the risk to the public is low.

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

Dr Lorraine Doherty, Assistant Director of Public Health (Health Protection) at the Public Health Agency, said: “Tests have come back negative for Ebola in this patient, but the effective and seamless way in which the case was managed reiterates how important it has been for the health service to prepare for all eventualities.

“This incident has further tested the measures that are in place to deal with a suspected case of Ebola and has shown them to be robust, and it will contribute our continued work in this area.”