Influenza B is circulating at low levels in Ireland
Based on recent influenza surveillance data, influenza viruses are circulating at low levels in the community in Ireland, with influenza B the dominant influenza virus type. Overall, influenza activity is decreasing. People in at-risk groups are still urged to get vaccinated against influenza.
Influenza surveillance data
The number of confirmed influenza cases notified to the HSE-Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HSE-HPSC) decreased in the past week, with 178 confirmed influenza cases notified in week 8 (week ending February 26th 2023) compared to 245 cases reported in week 7 (week ending February 19th 2023). Since October 2022, 14,457 laboratory confirmed influenza cases have been notified to HPSC.
During week 8 2023, influenza age specific rates decreased across most age groups, but remained stable in those aged 65 years and older.The median age of cases was 37 years (one fifth of cases were aged 65 years and older).
During week 8 2023, 44 hospitalised laboratory confirmed influenza cases were reported. Over 4,000 hospitalised influenza cases were notified for the season to date, including 167 laboratory confirmed influenza cases admitted to critical care units.
One hundred and seventy (170) deaths in influenza cases have been notified to HPSC since the beginning of October 2022. One hundred and fifty-two (152) outbreaks of laboratory confirmed influenza have also been reported so far this season.
The sentinel GP influenza-like illness (ILI) consultation rate is now below the Irish baseline ILI threshold of 18.1 per 100,000 for the third consecutive week. The sentinel GP ILI consultation rate was 13.5 per 100,000 population during week 8 2023 and is decreasing compared to the updated rate of 15.2 per 100,000 during week 7 2023.
The latest influenza surveillance report published each Thursday is available here on the HPSC website.
The influenza vaccine is available free of charge from GPs and pharmacists for all people in at risk groups.
See the HSE National Immunisation Office website for further information https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/flu/getting-the-vaccine/
Vaccination remains the most effective means of preventing infection by seasonal influenza viruses and can reduce severe disease that can lead to hospitalisation and death. The vaccine takes two weeks to take effect once received.
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 sanitizer
- DO cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve
- 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.
Influenza-like illness (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 influenza vaccine are available on the HPSC website.