AN EIGHTH RESIDENT of a private nursing home in Co Donegal has died – becoming the seventh resident at the facility to succumb to influenza.
The patient was one of a group of residents at the Nazareth private nursing home in Buncrana to have been diagnosed as having influenza A (H3).
The HSE said seven others from the home are still being monitored after showing signs of the disease, but that five of those were showing “definite signs of improvement”.
It added that there had been no new cases diagnosed since last Wednesday.
Today’s death marks the seventh from influenza; another resident had passed away on Friday, but the HSE said this was not related to the current outbreak.
All residents in the nursing home are receiving either active or preventative treatment, and the HSE’s public health team for the north-west region is continuing “to closely manage and monitor the situation”.
The HSE has asked people visiting older residents of nursing homes to ensure their vaccinations for influenza are up to date, and to take simple precautions such as covering your mouth when sneezing, washing your hands with soap and water, and disposing immediately of any used tissues.
The H3 strain of the influenza virus currently circulating is thought to have changed slightly from previous years, with the result that the seasonal flu vaccine cannot guarantee immunity from infection.
Seasonal flu vaccinations contain components to repel certain strains of the virus, as recommended by the UN’s World Health Organisation. This year’s vaccine includes protection against the ‘traditional’ form of the H3 strain, as well as influenza B and the H1N1 swine flu variant.
The Irish Patients Association has called for a national vaccination register to be established to collate vital information that could help during outbreaks of infectious diseases.