Friday 23 June 2017

Mums-to-be urged to get seasonal flu vaccine

A spokesperson for the HSE called on GPs to recall pregnant women who only received the swine flu vaccine. Photo: Reuters
A spokesperson for the HSE called on GPs to recall pregnant women who only received the swine flu vaccine. Photo: Reuters

Eilish O'Regan Health Correspondent

Pregnant women have been advised they are not only at risk from swine flu, but from another strain of flu which is also circulating.

Hospitals have reported that influenza B is also causing complications in pregnant women this winter and they should be protected against it.

For this reason they should avail of the seasonal flu vaccine even if they have already received the swine flu jab this winter or last year.

The seasonal flu vaccine protects against all the strains of flu which are a threat this winter, including swine flu and influenza B.

A spokesperson for the HSE called on GPs to recall pregnant women who only received the swine flu vaccine. She added the HSE did not have figures of how many woman have received these jabs.

The spokesperson said that pregnant women may have been given only the swine flu jab in recent weeks because of a shortage of the seasonal flu vaccine.

The Irish College of General Practitioners said vaccination of pregnant women is advised because they are at particular risk of severe illness being caused by this flu.

This advice is supported by obstetricians in Ireland and internationally.

This can be done at any stage of pregnancy including up to six weeks after delivery, but sooner is better.

New figures to be released today will show if flu rates are still rising and how many are ending up ill in hospital and in intensive care units.

The first week of January saw record rates of flu and it is expected to be some time before there is any considerable fall-off.

Illness

Two adults have died from flu complications and one child from the Republic who was in intensive care in the North has lost his life due to the illness.

Meanwhile, new figures show there was a big jump in cases of measles last year. There were 445 notified cases in 2010 compared to 162 in 2009, a rise of 283. Cases of mumps fell from 3,626 in 2009 to 312, a fall of 3,626 .

Dr Graham Fry of the Tropical Medical Bureau said : "The huge drop in the number of reported cases of mumps is encouraging, even though measles cases have increased almost three fold."

Irish Independent

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