Advertisement

We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Shutterstock
Flu

Flu viruses now circulating in Ireland with reported rise in cases over past week

The HPSC said flu activity “significantly increased” last week.

LAST UPDATE | 18 Feb 2022

THE HEALTH PROTECTION Surveillance Centre (HPSC) has said influenza is now circulating in Ireland and activity “significant increased” last week.

In total, 37 new influenza cases, were notified to the HPSC last week. There have been 120 laboratory confirmed cases since the start of the flu season in Ireland. 

Given the increase in most influenza surveillance indicators, the HPSC said it “considers that influenza viruses are now circulating in Ireland”.

Dr Lucy Jessop, Director of Public Health at the HSE’s National Immunisation Office, told The Journal that with Covid-19 restrictions lifting “it was to be expected that it would be circulating”. 

“I suppose we never knew what this flu season was going to bring, there wasn’t really any flu last year, people weren’t travelling and so on, so we always thought there could be a resurgence.”

She said the dominant strain that is circulating is more severe in older people and she encouraged those over 65 who have not yet got their flu vaccine to get it now.

“Something to keep in mind is that the flu vaccine is still available for people over the age of 50, – since October 1.3 million people have taken it,” Dr Jessop said.

“It’s also available for pregnant women, healthcare workers and those who are at high risk.”

The rate of GP consultations for influenza-like illnesses increased from 8.3 per 100,000 population the previous week to 10.2 per 100,000 population last week. The proportion of self-reported flu calls to GP out of hours services also increased slightly (0.5%).

Dr Brian Osborne, the Assistant Medical Director of the Irish College of General Practitioners, said that there are many viruses circulating within the community at the moment and that GPs are being kept busy due to the high circulation.

“There are many viruses including influenza circulating in the community at this time,” said Dr Osborne.

“GPs are busy dealing with respiratory presentations and there has been a noticeable rise in these illnesses in the past two weeks.

“Anyone who has a respiratory illness should act like they have COVID-19 until proven otherwise and adhere to the public health guidance.”

The Assistant Medical Director of the Irish College of General Practitioners, Dr Brian Osborne, said: “There are many viruses including influenza circulating in the community at this time. GPs are busy dealing with respiratory presentations and there has been a noticeable rise in these illnesses in the past two weeks.

“Anyone who has a respiratory illness should act like they have COVID-19 until proven otherwise and adhere to the public health guidance. “

There was an increase in the positivity rate of specimens tested at the National Virus Reference Laboratory (NVRL) last week, with 9.9% of specimens positive for influenza, compared to less than 1% the previous week. 

The HPSA reported 13 laboratory confirmed flu patients were hospitalised last week, with one of those patients in ICU. Over the whole flu season there have been 34 laboratory confirmed flu cases, with two of those patients requiring critical care. 

No deaths linked to influenza cases were reported last week. 

In Europe, the HPSC said influenza activity has also increased slightly, with different levels of activity between countries and areas.

Readers like you are keeping these stories free for everyone...
A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article. Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
35
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel