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PIEG future still not resolved two years later

PIEG is playing no role in the health sector’s response to Zika, while the Health Threats Co-ordination Group, which co-ordinates the national response to Zika, is due to meet again in late September.  The Medical Independent (MI) first reported in April 2014 that the future of the PIEG was being reviewed.

The group last met in July 2014, more than two years ago. “There are currently no meetings scheduled,” a Department of Health spokesperson told MI.

“A number of options are being considered concerning the role of the PIEG, including its composition, remit and role in providing advice in non-pandemic situations. However, no decisions have been taken in relation to the future role of PIEG.”

The PIEG has no role in the Irish response to Zika, the Department spokesperson confirmed.

“The Irish response is being co-ordinated at a national level by the Health Threats Co-ordination Group. It has met four times since the declaration of the PHEIC, most recently on 27 July 2016, and it is scheduled to meet again on 28 September 2016,” said the spokesperson.

“The Zika Transport Subgroup, which includes representatives from the Government Departments, State agencies, ports, airports and transport operators, met on 13 July 2016.

“The Zika Communications Subgroup has met twice — on 3 June and 25 June 2016. A Zika Virus Scientific Advisory Subcommittee has been established by the HSE’s Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) to advise on Zika-related matters in the Irish setting.”

The subcommittee held its fifth meeting on 22 June and is scheduled to meet again this week. The HPSC has issued specific advice regarding Zika virus to health professionals and other relevant groups.

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