Sunday 26 January 2020

Flu outbreak to last five more weeks as death toll from season reaches 22

 

Vaccine appeal: Vida Hamilton. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins
Vaccine appeal: Vida Hamilton. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins
Aoife Walsh

Aoife Walsh

The flu outbreak which has claimed the lives of more than 20 people is expected to continue for another five weeks, the Health Services Executive (HSE) has warned.

The current flu season, which arrived three to four weeks earlier than normal this year, has lead to the death of 22 people here so far, with 17 of those aged 65 or older.

Some 45 patients presenting with influenza A have been admitted to intensive care as of yesterday.

Latest figures from the HSE revealed 404 patients were on trolleys in emergency departments around the country as of yesterday morning, with 52pc of them requiring isolation.

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Speaking at a HSE winter health briefing, Dr Vida Hamilton said the flu season was expected to last another five weeks, adding that it was "not too late" get the seasonal flu vaccine.

"The vaccine is an extremely good match this year and despite us being in the midst of a very busy flu season, it's not too late to vaccinate," she said.

"We anticipate there are approximately five more weeks of the flu season left. Our levels of flu are running very high this season."

Admissions to emergency departments have reduced in comparison with last week, but are still significantly higher than last year.

Highest hospitalisation rates have been found in children under five and adults of 65 and over.

Irish Independent

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