Monday 26 February 2018

Vulnerable urged to get jabs as flu surges

Eilish O'Regan Health Correspondent

FLU is making a belated surge with a doubling of cases in the past week, disease experts warned yesterday.

Ireland has escaped lightly this winter compared with recent years with low levels of flu circulating.

However, rates of flu-like illness have risen from 15.7 per 100,000 to 26.2 per 100,000 this month and are now above "threshold levels".

This means that flu is "actively circulating" in the community, the Health Protection Surveillance Centre warned.

It renewed its call on at-risk groups, including the elderly and those with weakened defences, to get the flu jab.

Dr Joan O'Donnell, Specialist in Public Health Medicine, said: "People who are at risk of the complications of flu need to get vaccinated against the disease now.

"The vaccine is available free of charge from GPs for all people in at-risk groups, and from pharmacists for everyone aged 65 and over. An administration charge may apply to people who don't hold medical cards or GP visit cards."

The most recent flu surveillance report of mid-February showed that three people have died from flu this winter.

Although this is the official number, many more will have died due to complications.

Irish Independent

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