Continued low influenza activity in Ireland
Influenza activity increased slightly during week 14 (week ending April 7th 2019) and remains below baseline levels for the sixth successive week. Community flu activity increased slightly with the sentinel GP influenza-like illness (ILI) consultation rate at 7.8 per 100,000 population during week 14 compared to the rate of 4.3 per 100,000 population reported during the previous week. Influenza activity peaked in Ireland in week 5 (week ending February 3rd). Overall this season, Influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 was the dominant virus in circulation. In recent weeks, more influenza A(H3N2) viruses were detected compared to influenza A(H1N1)pdm09. Very little influenza B is circulating. The current vaccine remains a good match for the circulating influenza viruses.
The highest hospitalisation rates continue to be seen in those aged less than 5 years old. To date this season, 2,928 hospitalised confirmed influenza cases have been reported to HPSC, the majority due to influenza A. One hundred and twenty seven confirmed flu cases have been admitted to critical care units so far this season with the majority due to influenza A. The highest ICU admission rates are in adults aged 65 years and older and children under one year of age. Two influenza outbreaks were reported during week 14, both in acute hospital settings. This season to date, 60 influenza outbreaks in total has been reported. To date this season, 65 flu-related deaths have been reported to HPSC, the majority occurring in those aged 65 years and older.
What do you do if you have flu-like symptoms
Anyone who gets flu should stay at home, rest, drink plenty of fluids and use over-the-counter remedies like paracetamol to ease symptoms. Advice, tips, information and videos on getting over flu and other common illnesses are available at a new HSE website, www.undertheweather.ie.
When to seek help
If you are in an at-risk group with flu symptoms OR if you are not in an at-risk group but your flu symptoms are severe or getting worse you should contact your GP. GPs may wish to prescribe antivirals for those presenting with influenza in the at-risk groups. If you need to visit your GP or the Emergency Department, please phone first to explain that you might have flu.
If your child has flu and their symptoms are severe or last for more than one week contact your GP. Please phone first to explain that they might have flu.
Covering your cough and sneeze can stop the spread of germs that make people sick.
- DO use a tissue and place it immediately in the bin. Wash your hands or use a hand sanitiser
- DO cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve. Germs won’t spread through your clothing
- DON’T cough or sneeze into your hands. You’ll end up spreading germs to everything you touch.
Posters and social media resources for respiratory hygiene are available to download from the HPSC website.
ILI GP consultation rates give an indication of the overall community levels of influenza activity in Ireland and are reported by selected GPs as part of a surveillance system jointly run by the Irish College of General Practitioners, the National Virus Reference Laboratory and the Health Protection Surveillance Centre.
The weekly influenza surveillance reports and further information on influenza and flu vaccine are available on the HPSC website.