Dáil Éireann - Volume 545 - 27 November, 2001

Written Answers. - Anthrax Incidence.

204. Mr. Allen asked the Minister for Health and Children the reason a recent survey showed that 40% of all general practitioners surveyed had [228] received no information from his Department or the health boards regarding anthrax. [29600/01]

Minister for Health and Children (Mr. Martin): I am not aware of the survey referred to by the Deputy.

The Deputy will be aware that in the wake of the events of 11 September, I established an expert committee to prepare an operational plan which would be implemented in the unlikely event of a biological attack in this country. On 17 October I launched a protocol to deal with a suspected anthrax attack in Ireland. The protocol was prepared by the expert committee and deals with the procedures to be adopted in the event of a suspected anthrax attack, including patient treatment and management, post exposure guidelines, etc. Included with the protocol are guidelines for individuals and companies on how to deal with a suspect package believed to contain anthrax. This protocol is revised on an ongoing basis as a result of feedback to the committee. The protocol and guidelines are available on my Department's website – www.doh.ie.

The protocol was issued to the Director of Public Health – DPH – in each health board. The DPHs were asked to bring this protocol to the attention of all relevant health care personnel in their area as a matter of urgency.