Thursday 14 December 2017

HSE warning as rate of flu here doubles over last two weeks

Flu jab. Photo: PA
Flu jab. Photo: PA

Ian Begley

The HSE has issued a warning that rates of influenza and respiratory illnesses have nearly doubled across the country in the past two weeks.

According to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre, there have been several outbreaks of the illnesses in care facilities and acute hospitals, particularly in the Dublin region.

The HSE is now warning those who are vulnerable and have not received vaccinations to do so and said "it is not too late".

One person has died as a result of the flu this winter and the latest figures show that almost 100 people were hospitalised with the illness.

This rate is expected to further increase in the coming weeks.

Most cases have involved people 65 years of age and older.

Those who are suffering from flu-like symptoms are advised to drink plenty of fluids, to get lots of rest and to eat healthily.

In a statement the HSE said: “The latest Influenza surveillance report from Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HSPC) shows an almost doubling of the influenza like illness rate (ILI) to 46.7, compared with 25.8 for the previous week. The ILI rate is expected to increase further in the coming weeks.”

In Ireland East Hospital Group, St. Luke’s General Hospital in Kilkenny/Carlow has recorded the highest incidence of Flu Nationally. 

The HSE added: “Due to a high incidence of admissions through the Emergency Department and AMAU of people suffering from influenza, some of our hospitals have issued localised statements to the media advising the public that visiting restrictions will be put in place effective immediately and that access will be restricted to all areas of the hospital except for example, if visiting children or those who are critically ill in ICU/CCU/Stroke Units.  

“We are asking that only parents be authorised to visit children and in the case of visiting maternity units, that it is limited to partner /next of kin.

“The Ireland East Hospital Group is supporting all of their hospitals and join them in asking members of the public to only visit the hospital if it is absolutely necessary and not to visit if they have had flu-like symptoms in the previous four days.”

Tallaght Hospital, along with other hospitals around the country, have also seen a high level of emergency admissions in recent days primarily due to increasing numbers of influenza and norovirus illnesses in the community.

“The Hospital’s full capacity protocol is in place and the public is asked to attend their GP in the first instance where appropriate,” stated the hospital.

“We apologise for any delays in waiting times as patients in the Emergency Department are prioritised according to clinical need.”

Beaumont Hospital also wished advise that visiting restrictions are in place in its premises.

“Like many other hospitals across the country, Beaumont is requesting that patients with cold and flu symptoms who may be considering coming to the ED first contact their GP.”

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