Tests continue on suspected Ebola victim

Local man says he was speaking to victim at a festival in Mountcharles last week

The man’s remains have been sent to Letterkenny General Hospital’s mortuary, which has been sealed off. However, there have been no visiting restrictions at the hospital.

The man’s remains have been sent to Letterkenny General Hospital’s mortuary, which has been sealed off. However, there have been no visiting restrictions at the hospital.

Fri, Aug 22, 2014, 01:04

Tests are continuing on a man found dead in Co Donegal who is suspected of having been infected with the Ebola virus while working in west Africa.

The man, in his early 40s, was named locally as Dessie Quinn, from Doorin, outside Mountcharles, Co Donegal.

It is understood he had been living with his partner in Dublin but was visiting his large family in Co Donegal when he was taken ill.

Fr Adrian Gavigan, of Mountcharles, said he had visited Mr Quinn, noting the dead man’s family presumed he had died as a result of malaria.

Mr Quinn was being treated for malaria for the past number of weeks and was on medication.

He had been back in Ireland for two weeks on holiday from Sierra Leone, where he had been working for a telecommunications company, according to one source.

‘Awful shock’

Fr Gavigan said the Quinn family were well known in the area and well respected. “This has come as an awful shock to them. I genuinely hope that this is not confirmed,” he said of the suspected Ebola connection.

Mr Quinn’s remains have been sent to Letterkenny General Hospital’s mortuary, which has been sealed off and will remain so overnight. But there have been no visiting restrictions at the hospital.

The Health Service Executive would only say the remains of a person who recently returned from an area of Africa hit by the outbreak were found in Co Donegal.

“Until a diagnosis is confirmed, and as a precautionary measure, the individual’s remains will stay in the mortuary pending the laboratory results, which are expected late tomorrow,” said a HSE spokesman.

One local who knew the suspected victim said he was talking to him last week at a festival.

“I met him at the festival in Mountcharles last Friday,” he said. “He was just home and as far as I know he was in Donegal since he came back from Sierra Leone. He could have been back two weeks or three weeks, I’m not sure.

“Everyone knew him. He was great company to be along with, he was a very nice fella.”

The HSE has stressed that the risk of transmission of any disease is considered to be “extremely low” but precautionary measures were in place.

Dr Darina O’Flanagan, head of the HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre, said a person would have to be in very close personal contact with an infected individual or their body fluids for there to be any risk.

Laboratory tests

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

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

Donegal mayor John Campbell urged people not to panic. “I know the family well and our thoughts are with them,” he said. – (Additional reporting: PA)