24. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Health the training in place for medical professionals to deal with persons diagnosed with Lyme disease or presenting with the symptoms of same; the comparisons between accuracy of tests carried out here and those carried out in the EU and the United Kingdom including tests carried out that have provided negative results and subsequently proved positive; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6108/18 asked on 08 Feb 2018 - Infectious Disease Epidemics)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 24, 64, 65 and 181 together.
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted to humans by bites from infected ticks infected. The infection is generally mild affecting only the skin but can occasionally be more severe and highly debilitating. 
Lyme disease is diagnosed by medical history and physical examination and can be a difficult diagnosis to make in cases which do not develop the characteristic rash. The infec...

64. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Health the assistance the health services offer persons with Lyme disease, specifically in respect of interventions and medical card assistance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6102/18 asked on 08 Feb 2018 - Infectious Disease Epidemics)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 24, 64, 65 and 181 together.
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted to humans by bites from infected ticks infected. The infection is generally mild affecting only the skin but can occasionally be more severe and highly debilitating. 
Lyme disease is diagnosed by medical history and physical examination and can be a difficult diagnosis to make in cases which do not develop the characteristic rash. The infec...

65. Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Health his plans to implement a similar practice to that in Germany for the detection and treatment of Lyme disease; his views on whether testing mechanisms here are adequate; his further views on whether the non-recognition of test results taken abroad is a fair and proper practice; his plans to improve follow up care for persons following diagnosis; his views on whether current training for doctors is adequate; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6092/18 asked on 08 Feb 2018 - Infectious Disease Epidemics)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 24, 64, 65 and 181 together.
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted to humans by bites from infected ticks infected. The infection is generally mild affecting only the skin but can occasionally be more severe and highly debilitating. 
Lyme disease is diagnosed by medical history and physical examination and can be a difficult diagnosis to make in cases which do not develop the characteristic rash. The infec...

181. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Health the diagnostic test for Lyme disease here; the difference between the test here and in Germany; his plans to include the German diagnostic test here; his further plans to include the German treatment approach to the disease here; and if he will meet with the representatives of the organisation that represents persons with the condition here (details supplied) (Question 6474/18 asked on 08 Feb 2018 - Infectious Disease Epidemics)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 24, 64, 65 and 181 together.
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted to humans by bites from infected ticks infected. The infection is generally mild affecting only the skin but can occasionally be more severe and highly debilitating. 
Lyme disease is diagnosed by medical history and physical examination and can be a difficult diagnosis to make in cases which do not develop the characteristic rash. The infec...

229. Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Health if there will be an expansion of supports for victims of Lyme disease in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6434/18 asked on 07 Feb 2018 - Infectious Disease Epidemics)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Lyme disease (also known as Lyme borelliosis) is an infection caused by a spiral-shaped bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi. It is transmitted to humans by bites from ticks infected with the bacteria. The infection is generally mild affecting only the skin but can occasionally be more severe and highly debilitating. Lyme disease is diagnosed by medical history and physical examination. The infection is confirmed by blood tests which look for antib...

188. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 271 and 272 of 17 October 2017, if the one health approach to tackling antimicrobial resistance, AMR, encompassing all sectors means that the current and evolving risk of AMR contamination associated with urban gulls will be monitored and addressed by the recently established National interdepartmental AMR consultative committee in view of the launch of iNAP on 25 October 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52188/17 asked on 06 Dec 2017 - Infectious Disease Epidemics)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 188, 189, and 195 to 198, inclusive, together.
The HSE-Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) is a specialist agency for the surveillance of communicable diseases. It works in partnership with health service providers and similar organisations in Ireland and around the world, to provide the best possible information for the control and prevention of infectious diseases. The roles of the HPSC include providing timel...

189. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Health if such current and emerging associations (details supplied) will be monitored and addressed by the recently established national interdepartmental AMR consultative committee; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 52189/17 asked on 06 Dec 2017 - Infectious Disease Epidemics)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 188, 189, and 195 to 198, inclusive, together.
The HSE-Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) is a specialist agency for the surveillance of communicable diseases. It works in partnership with health service providers and similar organisations in Ireland and around the world, to provide the best possible information for the control and prevention of infectious diseases. The roles of the HPSC include providing timel...

195. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 271 and 272 of 17 October 2017, if the one health approach to tackling antimicrobial resistance encompassing all sectors means that the current and evolving risk of AMR contamination associated with urban gulls will be monitored and addressed by the recently established national interdepartmental AMR consultative committee in view of the launch of iNAP on 25 October 2017. (Question 52231/17 asked on 06 Dec 2017 - Infectious Disease Epidemics)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 188, 189, and 195 to 198, inclusive, together.
The HSE-Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) is a specialist agency for the surveillance of communicable diseases. It works in partnership with health service providers and similar organisations in Ireland and around the world, to provide the best possible information for the control and prevention of infectious diseases. The roles of the HPSC include providing timel...

196. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to recent European scientific studies (details supplied); and if the emerging association between urban gulls with carbapenemase producing enterobacteriaceae noted in those studies will be monitored and addressed by the recently established national interdepartmental AMR consultative committee. (Question 52232/17 asked on 06 Dec 2017 - Infectious Disease Epidemics)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 188, 189, and 195 to 198, inclusive, together.
The HSE-Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) is a specialist agency for the surveillance of communicable diseases. It works in partnership with health service providers and similar organisations in Ireland and around the world, to provide the best possible information for the control and prevention of infectious diseases. The roles of the HPSC include providing timel...

197. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to recent studies (details supplied); and his views on the findings in regard to antimicrobial resistance. (Question 52233/17 asked on 06 Dec 2017 - Infectious Disease Epidemics)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 188, 189, and 195 to 198, inclusive, together.
The HSE-Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) is a specialist agency for the surveillance of communicable diseases. It works in partnership with health service providers and similar organisations in Ireland and around the world, to provide the best possible information for the control and prevention of infectious diseases. The roles of the HPSC include providing timel...

198. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to recent international scientific studies (details supplied); and his views on the findings in regard to antimicrobial resistance. (Question 52234/17 asked on 06 Dec 2017 - Infectious Disease Epidemics)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): I propose to take Questions Nos. 188, 189, and 195 to 198, inclusive, together.
The HSE-Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) is a specialist agency for the surveillance of communicable diseases. It works in partnership with health service providers and similar organisations in Ireland and around the world, to provide the best possible information for the control and prevention of infectious diseases. The roles of the HPSC include providing timel...

512. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Health the public health advice he has issued regarding the 2016 Olympics in Brazil and the zika virus; how he has publicised this advice; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 15309/16 asked on 05 Jul 2016 - Infectious Disease Epidemics)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Zika is a viral infection that usually causes a mild illness, with approximately 80% of infected people having no symptoms. It is transmitted by mosquitoes. Infection with Zika virus in pregnant women has been linked with a serious birth condition called microcephaly where babies are born with unusually small heads. Cases of a neurological illness (called Guillain-Barré Syndrome) possibly caused by Zika virus infection are also being investigated.
En...

437. Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Health the precautions that will be taken to prevent Legionella contamination in a hospital (details supplied) in County Louth; the position regarding the shower heads in the hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 36149/15 asked on 20 Oct 2015 - Infectious Disease Epidemics)

Minister for Health (Deputy Leo Varadkar): As this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days please contact my Private Office and my officials will follow the matter up.
 ...

400. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Health the actions his Department have taken in response to the increasing global health threat presented by emerging zoonotic diseases such as Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, which emerged in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and which, although it is more limited than the previous SARS-CoV, has a much higher mortality rate; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 25908/15 asked on 30 Jun 2015 - Infectious Diseases Epidemic)

Minister for Health (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) is a viral respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus (MERS-CoV) that was first identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause diseases ranging from the common cold to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Typical MERS symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Pneumonia is common, but not always present. Gastrointestinal symptoms, includin...

561. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the extent to which aid, medical supplies and personnel continue to be made available to those countries most affected by Ebola, with particular reference to the necessity to take adequate steps to minimise the possibility of recurrences; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 15691/15 asked on 21 Apr 2015 - Infectious Diseases Epidemic)

Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Sean Sherlock): Through the work on the ground of our Embassy in Sierra Leone and our significant financial support, and the work of a range of Irish NGOs, Ireland has played a leading role in the international response to the Ebola crisis. These efforts are finally showing progress as transmission rates start to decline. The EU and its Member States have so far committed over €1.2 billion to the Ebola response. In 2014,...

5. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his attention has been drawn to the comments of Ms. Birte Hald, head of operations for the International Federation of the Red Cross, who has stated that most of the EU aid pledged to fight Ebola has yet to materialise on the ground; if he will confirm that all promised Irish assistance to fight Ebola has been paid and is reaching those on the ground; and if he will discuss this issue with his European counterparts. (Question 45231/14 asked on 26 Nov 2014 - Infectious Diseases Epidemic)

Deputy Seán Crowe: Last week, the European Commission announced an additional €29 million in aid, bringing total EU anti-Ebola funding to €373 million. Member states have pledged millions more in funding and the total EU pledge, other than pledges to provide equipment and supplies, now stands at more than €1 billion. I tabled this question after the head of operations of the International Red Cross stated that Ebola is flaring up as aid agencies are struggling to keep staff on the ground and n...

838. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the amount of overseas development assistance funding provided to date to deal with the Ebola outbreak in West Africa; his plans to provide further funding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 42233/14 asked on 04 Nov 2014 - Infectious Diseases Epidemic)

Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Sean Sherlock): I propose to take Questions Nos. 838 and 839 together.
I remain deeply concerned about the spread of the Ebola virus in West Africa and the devastating impacts it is having, particularly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. 
It is clear that the spread of the disease has long-since outpaced the capacity of the three Governments to respond to it and the international community must urgently ensure that the ...

839. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the commitments made to fund programmes to deal with the Ebola outbreak following the decision of the EU Council to double funding; the level of funding to be provided by his Department, the overall funding by the EU and its member states; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 42234/14 asked on 04 Nov 2014 - Infectious Diseases Epidemic)

Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Sean Sherlock): I propose to take Questions Nos. 838 and 839 together.
I remain deeply concerned about the spread of the Ebola virus in West Africa and the devastating impacts it is having, particularly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. 
It is clear that the spread of the disease has long-since outpaced the capacity of the three Governments to respond to it and the international community must urgently ensure that the ...

132. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Health the position regarding preventive actions for Ebola in our ports and airports; the other preventative measures that have been implemented; if he is satisfied that Irish citizens are protected from the spread of Ebola; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 40735/14 asked on 23 Oct 2014 - Infectious Diseases Epidemic)

Minister for Health (Deputy Leo Varadkar): I propose to take Questions Nos. 132, 133 and 146 together.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the Ebola outbreak to be a Public Health Event of International Concern on 8 August 2014. The total number of cases by 17 October in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone is 9191, with 4546 deaths. The WHO officially declared the outbreak in Senegal over on 17 October, and the outbreak in Nigeria over on 20 October.
The European Centres for Disease Prev...

133. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Health his plans for screening for Ebola at airports and ports here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 40824/14 asked on 23 Oct 2014 - Infectious Diseases Epidemic)

Minister for Health (Deputy Leo Varadkar): I propose to take Questions Nos. 132, 133 and 146 together.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the Ebola outbreak to be a Public Health Event of International Concern on 8 August 2014. The total number of cases by 17 October in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone is 9191, with 4546 deaths. The WHO officially declared the outbreak in Senegal over on 17 October, and the outbreak in Nigeria over on 20 October.
The European Centres for Disease Prev...

146. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Health his plans for dealing with an outbreak of Ebola here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 40823/14 asked on 23 Oct 2014 - Infectious Diseases Epidemic)

Minister for Health (Deputy Leo Varadkar): I propose to take Questions Nos. 132, 133 and 146 together.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the Ebola outbreak to be a Public Health Event of International Concern on 8 August 2014. The total number of cases by 17 October in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone is 9191, with 4546 deaths. The WHO officially declared the outbreak in Senegal over on 17 October, and the outbreak in Nigeria over on 20 October.
The European Centres for Disease Prev...

167. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health the measures he has taken and will be taking to prevent an outbreak of Ebola in Ireland; his views that this very serious contagious disease is being given the priority it deserves; and the assistance he and the Government are providing to the Governments of West Africa to contain and eliminate the disease (Question 39630/14 asked on 16 Oct 2014 - Infectious Diseases Epidemic)

Minister for Health (Deputy Leo Varadkar): I propose to take Questions Nos. 167 and 171 together.
The Management of Viral Haemorrhagic Fevers in Ireland (VHF) of which Ebola is one form is the national guidelines for the management of any case of VHF, including Ebola, in Ireland. They were published by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) in 2012. Parts of this guidance have been updated in light of the recent Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in West Africa. 
The key elements to ...

171. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health if the Irish health service is prepared for an outbreak of Ebola; if so, the plans in place; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 39661/14 asked on 16 Oct 2014 - Infectious Diseases Epidemic)

Minister for Health (Deputy Leo Varadkar): I propose to take Questions Nos. 167 and 171 together.
The Management of Viral Haemorrhagic Fevers in Ireland (VHF) of which Ebola is one form is the national guidelines for the management of any case of VHF, including Ebola, in Ireland. They were published by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) in 2012. Parts of this guidance have been updated in light of the recent Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in West Africa. 
The key elements to ...

70. Deputy Jim Daly asked the Minister for Health if he is satisfied that Ireland is sufficiently prepared to cope with any potential outbreak of the Ebola virus; the strategies in place if this happens; if screening of persons for the virus is happening as they enter the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 39340/14 asked on 15 Oct 2014 - Infectious Diseases Epidemic)

Minister for Health (Deputy Leo Varadkar): On 8 August 2014, WHO declared the Ebola outbreak in West Africa to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) because:
- the Ebola outbreak in West Africa constitutes an ‘extraordinary event’ and a public health risk to other States; 
- the possible consequences of further international spread are particularly serious in view of the virulence of the virus, the intensive community and health facility transmission patterns, and the wea...

82. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the actions his Department has taken to address the ebola virus epidemic in west Africa; the specific projects funded by his Department in this area; the risk this epidemic poses to Europe and Ireland; the actions being taken to reduce this risk; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 37717/14 asked on 07 Oct 2014 - Infectious Diseases Epidemic)

Deputy Brendan Smith: Last week, at the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade, representatives of GOAL and Doctors without Borders presented a frightening and horrific picture of what is happening in west Africa. We know that the current ebola outbreak has caused the deaths of at least 3,000 people and west Africa is experiencing the biggest outbreak of this virus ever known. The World Health Organization predicts there will be 20,000 cases by early November. Does the Minist...