A full-scale health probe is underway in Co Donegal into the death of a man who may have contracted the deadly Ebola virus, Irish health authorities have confirmed.
The body of the deceased man has been placed in isolation in Letterkenny hospital after showing possible symptoms of the killer virus.
Dessie Quinn (44) returned home from Sierra Leone two weeks ago. Before his death, he was being treated for malaria.
A source said the man's body was found this morning and no suspicion of Ebola arose until his death occurred.
Laboratory tests, which will confirm if he died from the virus will be available tomorrow. If the test on the man's body proves to be positive, the Irish government's emergency task force will meet tomorrow.
Mr Quinn was from Mountcharles, Co Dongeal, it is understood.
The HSE revealed it is “currently assessing a suspected case of Ebola virus disease in Donegal.”
A spokeswoman said the public health department was made aware earlier today of the remains of an individual, discovered early this morning, who had recently travelled to the one of the areas in Africa affected by the current Ebola virus disease outbreak.
The spokeswoman continued: “the appropriate national guidelines, in line with international best practice, are being followed by the public health team dealing with the situation.
“This means that the body of the deceased has been isolated to minimise the potential spread of any possible virus."
“Blood samples have been sent for laboratory testing to confirm whether or not this individual had contracted Ebola virus disease.”
The spokewoman said: "The individual’s remains will stay in the mortuary pending the laboratory results which are expected late tomorrow”.
The HSE stressed the risk of transmission of any disease is considered to be extremely low.
"As a precautionary measure, appropriate infection control procedures are being put in place in the community and at the mortuary pending the outcome of laboratory tests.”
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.”