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Need for ‘imported fever service’ may be part of future Irish Ebola review

The Medical Independent (MI) also understands that the introduction of an imported fever service in Ireland may be part of such a review.

In an interview with MI in May, the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) Director Dr Darina O’Flanagan said that in the UK, they have such a 24/7 service, which provides expert advice to clinicians about patients who have been abroad and present with fever.

“That is an area we need to look at because, of course, there are other emerging threats, such as avian influenza,” she said.

A Department spokesperson told MI that the future Ebola review would be wide-ranging and may look at the issue of an imported fever service.

“The WHO declared the Ebola outbreak to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) on 8 August 2014,” said the spokesperson.

“The Irish response to the outbreak and preparedness for future PHEICs will be reviewed once the current outbreak has abated.

“This review will examine the appropriateness and effectiveness of the Irish response, including the whole-of-Government response, governance structures, scientific advice, strategic decision-making, the operational response and communications, and will take into account reviews of the European and international responses.”

The UK’s IFS, which was set up in 2012, is a clinical advisory and specialist diagnostic service for medical professionals managing travellers who have returned to the UK with fever. It provides 24/7 telephone access to expert clinical and microbiological advice to support management of febrile patients, infection control and public health interventions, among other services.

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