Wednesday 19 September 2018

Severe flu outbreak this winter could kill 1,000 people, doctors warn

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Eilish O’Regan

A severe flu outbreak this winter could kill 1,000 people, doctors warned today.

Flu is unpredictable and it is still difficult to forecast what kind of season lies ahead.

It is responsible for between 200 and 500 deaths each year in Ireland and in a severe season it can cause up to 1,000 deaths, HSE Assistant National Director for Health Protection, Dr Kevin Kelleher said.

He was speaking at the launch the HSE’s annual flu campaign by Health Minister Simon Harris.

He urged all healthcare workers to get the flu vaccine.

Rates for flu vaccination among healthcare workers working in the acute hospital sector reached 31.9pc during last year’s flu season, up from 22.6pc during the 2015/2016.

Uptake among healthcare workers in long term care institutions, such as nursing homes,  also increased to 28.1pc up from 24.4pc.

The message to the general public is to get the vaccine if you are in an at-risk group due to illness, disability or age.

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