| 2°C Dublin

15 die in flu outbreak

The flu outbreak has claimed a total of 15 lives this winter, with three more deaths reported in the last week.

Health chiefs warned that while the number of new cases is in decline, levels among schoolchildren aged from five to 14 continue to rise.

Two more people with swine flu have died in the north, bringing the total number of deaths during this flu season to 25.

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) confirmed the swine flu H1N1 virus is only accounting for just over a third of all flu cases tested. Nearly two-thirds were Influenza B.

Statistics showed the number of people suffering from flu needing hospital care over the winter months rose to 803 yesterday, with 103 critical cases admitted to intensive care.

HPSC said that of the 15 dead, 11 suffered from the human swine flu, another had influenza A and three suffered from influenza B.

One of the victims was a child aged under four, 10 were in the 15-64 age group, and four patients were over 65.

Health chiefs also confirmed that 14 of the patients had underlying medical conditions.

PA Media