State agency issues flu alert urging those most at risk to get vaccinated
The Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) has issued a flu alert. The agency has urged people in high-risk categories to get vaccinated against influenza, as the number of cases of influenza-like illness (ILI) continues to rise.
The ILI rate for the pre-Christmas week was 24.9 cases per 100,000 population, which is above the threshold used to access influenza activity. "Influenza is now circulating in the community. It is important that people in high-risk categories get vaccinated against influenza," said HPSC director, Dr Darina O'Flanagan.
"High-risk groups are the over-65s, pregnant women and people, including children, with chronic illness requiring regular medical follow-up such as chronic lung disease, chronic heart disease, and diabetes. Those with lower immunity due to disease or treatment, including those who have had their spleens removed and children or teenagers on long-term aspirin therapy, are also in the high risk category.
"Residents of nursing homes, old people's homes and other long-stay facilities, healthcare workers and carers of those in risk groups should also get the vaccine," the HPSC says.