Swine flu infection rate continues to be steady at 1,500 cases a week

THE rate of swine flu infections in Ireland remains steady with about 1,500 cases diagnosed by GPs last week, according to latest figures released by the Department of Health.

The department’s chief medical officer, Dr Tony Holohan, said there had been no significant change in the pattern of swine flu in the population, with 37.9 cases seen for every 100,000 people.

There have been 114 people hospitalised with the virus to date, with an additional 23 admissions last week.

Sixteen people remain in hospital.

A total of 10 people have been admitted to intensive care, with one person admitted last week. Of the 10, six remain in hospital.

Eight out of 10 hospital cases are under 35 years and just under half have an underlying illness.

There was a decrease in the number of swine flu outbreaks reported by schools last week.

Dr Holohan said they were very happy with the way schools had acted to control the spread of the virus among pupils.

The Health Service Executive’s head of health protection, Dr Kevin Kelleher, said children had taken up the message about hand hygiene since they had gone back to school.

“There has been a massive change in people’s hand hygiene behaviour and it is being driven by kids,” he said.

He was also confident that third level students would be as conscientious as children. All of the colleges had plans in place to control the virus and new students were receiving information from administrators and student unions in the post.

Meanwhile, there are fears that swine flu may be on the way back in Britain after latest figures showed an increase in the number of cases since July.

There were an estimated 5,000 new infections last week, up from 3,000 the previous week.

The rise in cases was mainly seen among school age children, with six schools across Britain country reporting suspected outbreaks.

Britain’s chief medical officer Liam Donaldson said they were concerned that the increase could be the start of the next big wave they had been expecting this autumn.


Lifestyle

Shane Johnson was part of dance music group Fish Go Deep whose debut album spawned a UK chart hit. He recalls the creation of that landmark record.B-Side The Leeside: Cure and the Cause and the Lil' Hand that rocked the dancefloor

In a new daily feature, Arts editor Des O'Driscoll lists the best things on the box for the evening aheadWednesday's TV Highlights: Veg-growing tips, and a gripping kidnap drama feature among today's best

Dr Gero Baiarda dispels the biggest misconceptions.10 coronavirus myths tackled by a GP

Indulging in a little comfort eating lately? Worry not – with Easter just around the corner Maresa Fagan looks at how chocolate can be good for your heart, head, and healthFive genuine health reasons to enjoy chocolate this Easter weekend

More From The Irish Examiner