Flu update – Week 7, 2016

March 8, 2016

Update by Dr J Gallagher, Employment Health Advisors (EHA):

Influenza activity in Ireland was at moderate to high levels during week 7 2016 (week ending February 21, 2016).

Influenza A(H1)pdm09 is the predominant virus circulating. Reports of hospitalisations/ICU admissions associated with influenza and influenza outbreaks remain elevated.

It is recommended that antivirals be considered for the treatment and prevention of influenza in high risk groups.  Influenza-like illness rates remained above the Irish baseline ILI threshold (18 per 100,000 population).

Influenza A(H1)pdm09 is the predominant virus circulating; co-circulating with influenza B. All influenza A(H1)pdm09 and A(H3) viruses characterised in Ireland this season, belong to genetic groups that are antigenically similar to the strains recommended for inclusion in the 2015/2016 trivalent influenza vaccines.

Influenza B viruses characterised this season in Ireland, belong to the B/Victoria lineage, these viruses are not present in the 2015/2016 trivalent vaccine used in Ireland. Trivalent vaccines are the most widely used influenza vaccines in Europe. Overall, influenza activity has continued to increase in Europe, with influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses predominating this season to date.


Flu update – Week 6, 2016

February 19, 2016

Update by Dr J Gallagher, Employment Health Advisors (EHA):

Most indicators of influenza activity in Ireland decreased during week 6 2016 (week ending February 14, 2016), with activity remaining at high levels.

Influenza A(H1)pdm09 is the predominant virus circulating. It is recommended that antivirals be considered for the treatment and prevention of influenza in high risk groups.   Influenza A(H1)pdm09 positivity remains high; influenza B positivity peaked during December 2015.

Increased positive detections of adenovirus were reported in week 6 2016. All influenza A(H1)pdm09 and A(H3) viruses characterised in Ireland this season, belong to genetic groups that are antigenically similar to the strains recommended for inclusion in the 2015/2016 trivalent influenza vaccines.

Influenza B viruses characterised this season in Ireland, belong to the B/Victoria lineage, these viruses are not present in the 2015/2016 trivalent vaccine used in Ireland. Trivalent vaccines are the most widely used influenza vaccines in Europe.

One influenza A(H1)pdm09 school outbreak in HSE-NE was notified to HPSC during week 6 2016.  Overall, influenza activity has continued to increase in Europe, with influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses predominating this season to date.

 


Flu update – Week 5, 2016

February 16, 2016

Update by Dr J Gallagher, Employment Health Advisors (EHA):

Most indicators of influenza activity in Ireland stabilised during week 5 2016 (week ending February 7, 2016), with activity remaining at high levels.

Influenza A(H1)pdm09 is the predominant virus circulating. Reports of hospitalisations/ICU admissions associated with influenza remain elevated. It is recommended that antivirals be considered for the treatment and prevention of influenza in high risk groups.

All influenza A(H1)pdm09 and A(H3) viruses characterised in Ireland this season, belong to genetic groups that are antigenically similar to the strains recommended for inclusion in the 2015/2016 trivalent influenza vaccines. Influenza B viruses characterised this season in Ireland, belong to the B/Victoria lineage, these viruses are not present in the 2015/2016 trivalent vaccine used in Ireland. Trivalent vaccines are the most widely used influenza vaccines in Europe. Five influenza A(H1)pdm09 outbreaks and four acute respiratory  outbreaks (associated with unknown pathogens) were notified to HPSC during week 5 2016.

International: Overall, influenza activity has continued to increase in Europe, with influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses predominating this season to date.


Flu update – Week 1, 2016

January 20, 2016

Update by Dr J Gallagher, Employment Health Advisors (EHA):

Influenza activity in Ireland increased in the community in recent weeks (week 1 2016). 

The most recent influenza surveillance data indicate that influenza-like illness (ILI) has increased in the community in recent weeks.

The influenza-like illness (ILI) rate during week 1 (week ending January 10th 2016) was 48.5 per 100,000 population which is above the Irish baseline threshold of 18 per 100,000 (used to assess influenza activity during the 2015/2016 influenza season in Ireland) for the first time this season.

In addition, 77 confirmed influenza cases were reported as hospitalised with 13 confirmed influenza cases admitted to critical care units to date this season. Twelve outbreaks of acute respiratory infection have been reported to HPSC to date this season of which two were due to confirmed influenza. Influenza B and Influenza A (H1N1) pdm09 are co-circulating.


All indicators of influenza activity in Ireland were at low levels during week 44 2015. RSV and other seasonal respiratory virus positivity has increased over the last two weeks; in conjunction with increasing respiratory admissions reported from a network of sentinel hospitals.

November 9, 2015

The sentinel GP influenza-like illness (ILI) consultation rate was 3.7 per 100,000 population in week 44 2015, remaining low, and stable compared to the updated rate of 4.4 per 100,000 reported during week 43 2015. ILI rates remain below the Irish baseline ILI threshold (18 per 100,000 population) and at low levels in all ages groups.

The proportion of influenza-relared calls to GP Out-Of-Hours services was at low levels during week 44 2015.

One influenza A(H3) positive non-setinel specimen was detected by the NVRL for week 44 2015. Respiratory virus (RSV) positivity increased further during week 44 2015, as expected at this time of year. The overall proportion of non-sentinel specimens positive for respiratory viruses increased during week 44 2015. Positive detections of parainfluenza viruses, adenovirus and human metapneumovirus have been reported for the 2015/2016 season to date.

Respiratory admissions reported from a network of setinel hospitals increased during weeks 43 and 44 2015, as expected at this time of year. Hospitalizations: Five confirmed influenza hospitalised cases were notified to HPSC for the 2015/2016 season to date : one associated with influenza A(H3), two with influenza A (not subtyped) and two with influenza B.

One confirmed influenza A case was admitted to a critical care unit and reported to HPSC for the 2015/2016 season to date.

There were no reports of any influenza-associated deaths for the 2015/2016 season to date. No acute respiratory outbreaks were reported to HPSC for the 2015/2016 season to date. In the European Region, influenza activity remained at low levels, with sporadic influenza detections reported.


Want a handbook for implementing a health and safety management system (OHSAS18001)?

June 12, 2015

Dr Dan Gallagher recently released an Ebook on entitled “Health and Safety Management System Implementation- A Practitioners Guide and Approach“. This book provides the necessary tools and know how to implement an effective health and safety management system. Numerous templates and practical examples are provided, and a step by step approach is outlined to make the process as easy as possible. The book was just reviewed in the Health and Safety Review, a leading journal for health, safety and environmental practitioners, legal experts and business owners.

Please click on the following link to see the review article:  HSR June 2015 Article HSS

For more information about the author please visit and LinkIn via https://www.linkedin.com/pub/dan-gallagher/1/20b/71a

 

 


Flu Update – Week 09, 2015

March 10, 2015

Update by Dr J Gallagher, Employment Health Advisors (EHA):

Influenza activity in Ireland remained elevated in community and hospital settings during the week ending 1st March 2015 (week 9 2015), with some indicators of influenza activity decreasing.

The sentinel GP influenza-like illness (ILI) consultation rate was 53.4 per 100,000 population in week 9 2015, a decrease compared to the updated rate of 60.0 per 100,000 population during week 8 2015.  ILI rates have remained above the Irish baseline threshold (21.0/100,000 population) for eight consecutive weeks. ILI rates were highest in 5-14 year olds during week 9 2015.  The proportion of influenza–related calls to GP Out-of-Hours services decreased during week 9 2015.

Influenza positivity remained elevated during week 9 2015. Influenza A(H3) is the predominant circulating influenza virus this season. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) positivity has continued to decrease since the peak of activity during the last two weeks in December.  The latest complete data on respiratory admissions reported from a network of sentinel hospitals were elevated. 86 confirmed influenza hospitalised cases were notified to HPSC during the week ending 1st March 2015, a decrease from 116 cases reported during the previous week. The median age of confirmed influenza hospitalised cases to date this season is 58 years.  Fifteen influenza-associated deaths have been reported to HPSC this season, with a median age of 81 years.

Ten acute respiratory general outbreaks were reported to HPSC during the week ending 1st March 2015: five of these outbreaks were associated with influenza and five acute respiratory outbreaks had no pathogens identified. The majority of confirmed influenza outbreaks this season have been associated with influenza A(H3) in residential care facilities for the elderly.

In Europe, increased influenza activity has continued, in particular in western and central European countries.  The number and percentage of influenza virus detections in sentinel specimens showed a slight reduction in what might be described as a high plateau phase of the influenza season.


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