Thirty-four people have died from flu-related deaths this flu season and the illness is still circulating nationwide, the HSE has said.
According to its latest figures, the circulation of flu fell slightly in the community in the week ending February 10 of this year, with GPs seeing an average of 50 patients per 100,000 population with influenza-like illness (ILI), compared to 53 per 100,000 in the previous week.
GP consultation rates are highest among children and adults aged under 65, and while the number of hospitalisations fell during the week ending February 10, ‘the highest hospitalisation rates continue to be seen in those aged less than five years'.
"To date this season, 1,672 hospitalised confirmed influenza cases have been reported to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC). A total of 88 confirmed flu cases have been admitted to critical care units so far this season, and the highest ICU admission rates were in adults aged 45 years and older, and children under five years of age," the HSE noted.
It said that six influenza outbreaks were reported during the week ending February 10, bringing the season total to 27 influenza outbreaks.
Of the 34 flu-related deaths this flu season, the majority occurred in those aged 65 years and older, the HSE pointed out.
The majority of hospitalised cases have been due to influenza A (H1N1) and this remains the dominant virus in circulation.
"Influenza will continue to circulate in the community for at least the next four weeks. Preliminary results from Canada and Hong Kong where influenza A is the dominant circulating virus indicate good influenza vaccine effectiveness," the HSE said.
It is reminding people that it is not too late to get the flu vaccine, particularly those in high-risk groups, such as people over 65, pregnant women and those with long-term health conditions.
"Anyone who gets flu should stay at home, rest, drink plenty of fluids and use over-the-counter remedies like paracetamol to ease symptoms. Anyone in one of the high-risk groups should contact their GP if they develop influenza symptoms.
"If you need to visit your GP or the Emergency Department, please phone first to explain that you might have flu," explained Dr Kevin Kelleher, assistant national director of population health with the HSE.
Advice, tips, information and videos on how to deal with flu and other common illnesses are available on www.undertheweather.ie
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