More than 20 people - including those who had no other illness - have died as a result of flu
The deaths have struck all age groups but have taken the biggest toll on the elderly according to the latest update from the HSE
THE flu has killed 24 patients, including people who had no other illness this winter, it was revealed today.
The deaths have struck all age groups but have taken the biggest toll on the elderly.
Flu is believed to have peaked or is about to but it will be circulating for another five weeks, HSE public health specialist Dr Kevin Kelleher said.
"Last week or this week will be the peak," he said.
There has been a slight increase in the overall rate of patients seeking help for flu like illness.
The number of patients admitted to hospital with flu has risen and they are adding to the trolleys crisis.
This is because they must be isolated, leaving two patients occupying a four bed ward.
It is the fifth worst flu seasons since records began in 2000.
There is no evidence the flu has particularly hit schoolchildren but there are several outbreaks in nursing homes.
All areas in Ireland are categorised as having "widespread" flu activity according to the latest update.
Although the numbers of people coming down with flu is high the virus is not more severe than last year.
Influenza B which is not covered by the flu vaccine remains the main flu virus circulating followed by the AH3N2 strain, known as the Aussie flu.
The trolley crisis is also set to continue for weeks to come , impacting on surgery for patients on waiting lists.
People in at-risk groups are urged to get vaccinated against influenza and the HSE has urged people to remember it is still not too late to get vaccinated.
Flu vaccine is recommended for those in medically atrisk groups because they are more at risk of hospitalisation and death and health care workers and carers who are higher risk of contracting flu and passing it to their vulnerable patients. #YourBestShot https://t.co/ldIULw50bS pic.twitter.com/ghu9KnPJjF— HSE NIO (@HSEImm) January 18, 2018