Winter flu arrives in Ireland as first known case in more than a year is confirmed

The winter flu has arrived in Ireland, it was revealed today.

he first known case has been confirmed in a patient at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda.

Dr Ian Counihan, respiratory consultant and clinical director for the hospital’s Department of Medicine, said the case was laboratory confirmed two days ago.

No case of flu was found here last winter as the country was either in lockdown or under severe Covid-19 restrictions , reducing the risk of the infection.

He said :”I just got notified of first lab confirmed case two days ago. That is a cause of concern. We have been seeing RSV illness, particularly in children

“I was hoping there would not be as big a flu season last year- and we might get away with it,” he told Morning Ireland.

He said it emphasises the need for people to get the flu vaccine.

The European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has already warned of a the risk of high levels of flu this winter, peaking around Christmas and the New Year.

Flu can claim the lives of up to 500 people a year in this country in a normal season.

People aged 65 and over are most likely to be impacted and are at increased risk of severe illness , admission to hospital or dying from the virus.

The arrival of flu comes as hospitals are under growing pressure from a rise in patients with Covid-19.

The flu vaccine is recommended for the following groups:

– People aged 65 and over

– A health care worker

– A child aged 2 – 17

– A woman at any stage of pregnancy

People with certain medical conditions which put them at increased risk from the complications of flu.From this week a flu vaccine in the form of a nasal spray is available for children.

Children also carry the flu virus in their system longer than adults do. It can spread easily to other children, like those in day-care centres and schools, and to older and vulnerable people around them. The flu vaccine gives children the best protection against flu

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