Tuesday 25 April 2017

Miriam Donohoe: Our complacency on flu is risking lives and crippling our already stretched hospitals

In the week to December 18, there were 50 hospitalisations due to flu, bringing the seasonal total to 96. Most cases have involved people 65 years of age and older. This is 96 beds that could have been available to people with other, unavoidable serious illness. (Stock photo)
In the week to December 18, there were 50 hospitalisations due to flu, bringing the seasonal total to 96. Most cases have involved people 65 years of age and older. This is 96 beds that could have been available to people with other, unavoidable serious illness. (Stock photo)
Miriam Donohoe

Miriam Donohoe

If you were unlucky enough to be struck down by a nasty flu over the Christmas and New Year period, you will draw little comfort from the fact that you weren't on your own.

It seems as if half the country was spluttering and coughing into their turkey and mince pies, with figures from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre confirming an almost-doubling of the influenza-like illness rate last month.

During the week ending December 11, the rate was 25.8 per 100,000 people. But this rose to 46.7 per 100,000 people in the week ending December 18, and it continued to increase over the holidays.

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