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outbreak Flu surge hits Ireland as Covid restrictions eased

113 cases of flu were reported this week, up from 37 cases last week

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Ireland is experiencing a surge in flu cases since Covid-19 restrictions have eased.

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre confirmed 113 cases of flu were reported this week, up from 37 cases the week prior.

The average age of last week’s cases was 25 years old, while 17pc of cases were among hospital inpatients with a median age of 65.

The overall influenza positivity rate reported from the National Virus Reference Laboratory is 7.1pc for last week compared to 11pc this week.

Speaking to Newstalk, Donegal GP Ciarán Ó Fearraigh said that the increase of flu cases is linked to Covid-19 restrictions easing.

“Probably due to a... normalisation of our society and social mixing, last year without a flu epidemic was a complete anomaly and we were expecting this year that we would see some flu,” he said.

“Over the last couple of weeks now that’s increased quite a bit, so that’s likely to continue increasing and we’re probably going to see a bit of a flu outbreak and a peak over the next couple of weeks.”

“Flu has always been a significant illness and that’s why we have a national vaccination campaign,” he said, discussing the importance of older people getting flu vaccinations.

“Part of the reason we were concerned about Covid was because it had such a high death rate but flu has a significant death rate, particularly in more elderly and vulnerable patients, and the vaccination significantly reduces the risks associated with flu.”

Since October 2021 there have been 232 laboratory confirmed influenza cases.

Fifty-three of these cases were reported as hospital inpatients, including two confirmed influenza cases admitted to critical care units.

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During the current flu season, two deaths in notified influenza cases have been reported.

There have also been three outbreaks of flu, one hospital outbreak and two family outbreaks.

One of the family outbreaks occurred during the past week.

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