With flu now “actively” circulating in the community the HSE is urging those at risk to get vaccinated.
Latest figures from the HSE Health Protection Surveillance Centre show there have been four deaths as a result of flu this winter.
HPSC director, Dr Darina O’Flanagan, said 89 people had been admitted to hospital and urged ‘at risk’ groups to get vaccinated as, unfortunately, many of them ended up in hospital.
“In the last week we have seen a sharp increase in the number of cases of people presenting to their GPs with a flu-like illness,” said Dr O’Flanagan.
The GP consultant rate for flu-like illness increased to 48.5 per 100,000 population during the first week of January from a rate of 11.3 per 100,000 for the week ending Sunday, January 3.
“Flu rates are now above threshold levels which means that flu is actively circulating in the community,” said Dr O’Flanagan.
She said flu-like illness had increased in all age groups, particularly among those aged less than 65 years.
However, flu activity remained at “moderate” levels and it was not too late for people to get the flu vaccine.
“Prevention is better than cure and the increase in flu activity means it is even more important to get your flu jab, if you are in an at risk group,” she said.
Those at risk include people aged 65 years and older, adults and children with a long-term medical condition, people with an impaired immune system due to disease or treatment, and pregnant women.
Four acute respiratory/influenza outbreaks were reported to the HPSC during the week ending January 10. One outbreak was in an acute hospital and three in residential care facilities.
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