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The Department provided no date for when this review would be completed. “Initial work commenced in 2016 on the review of the co-ordination of the national response to the Ebola outbreak,” said a Department spokesperson.
“This will inform the development of public health emergency planning in Ireland and will take account of the International Health Regulations (IHRs), European structures and regulations, the emergency management framework in Ireland, and a wider review of the health protection function,” the spokesperson told MI. There were no cases of Ebola in Ireland.
Additionally, the spokesperson said there had been no cases of the Zika virus reported in Ireland so far in 2018.
“Preparedness and response to public health threats, such as Zika virus disease, is co-ordinated through the structures put in place following the Ebola outbreak,” said the spokesperson.
In terms of Zika, the Department said the Health Threats Coordination Group (HTCG) holds three scheduled meetings annually to monitor ongoing health threats abroad and to review preparedness in Ireland, including in relation to Zika.
Citing figures from the HSE’s Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC), the Department spokesperson said there had been 13 cases notified in 2016 following the introduction of statutory notification (ie, for the period 25/5/2016 – 31/12/2016), and 13 cases (provisional) were notified in 2017.
Separately, the Minister for Health Simon Harris has told the Dáil that the delay in new BCG vaccine stock would continue for much of this year.
The HSE “continues to experience ongoing delays with the supply of BCG vaccine. BCG vaccine stock in all areas expired at the end of April 2015 and as of today, this continues to be a problem for Ireland and other countries in Europe that use this licensed BCG vaccine,” said Minister Harris.
There is only one licensed supplier of BCG vaccine to Ireland and they have advised that it will not be delivered into Ireland until late 2018 at the earliest, outlined the Minister.