First two cases of flu virus identified

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The National Virus Reference Laboratory has identified the first two cases of influenza virus this winter, with recorded flu activity broadly in line with this time last year.

The cases - one influenza A (H3N2) and one influenza B - were identified by a network of 33 sentinel general practices, who report weekly on the number of patients with flu like illness.

The network was established by the National Disease Surveillance Centre, in partnership with the Irish College of General Practitioners and the National Virus Reference Laboratory, and produces a weekly influenza surveillance report.

Dermot Nolan from the Irish College of General Practitioners said that last year the first positive cases of influenza virus were also detected in January.

"Overall, a total of 65 positive cases of influenza virus were detected during the 2001/2002 season, peaking in February 2002," he said.

The weekly influenza surveillance reports, along with further information on influenza and the flu vaccine are available here.