Flu Update – Week 48, 2013

December 10, 2013

By Dr J Gallagher, Employment Health Advisors.
All indicators of influenza activity in Ireland were at low levels during week 48 2013; however some clinical indicators were showing signs of slight increases in activity. The sentinel GP influenza-like illness (ILI) consultation rate was 8.4 per 100,000 population in week 48 2013, an increase from the updated rate of 3.9 per 100,000 population in week 47. ILI rates remained below the Irish baseline threshold (21.0 per 100,000 population). ILI rates remained at low levels in all age groups. The proportion of influenza–related calls to GP Out-of-Hours services increased slightly during week 48 2013, however remained at low levels. No influenza positive specimens from sentinel GP or non-sentinel sources were reported from the National Virus Reference Laboratory (NVRL) during week 48 2013. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) positivity decreased during week 48 2013, however remained at elevated levels. One confirmed influenza B hospitalised case was reported to HPSC during week 48 2013. This case was previously reported by the NVRL. No confirmed influenza cases were admitted to ICU and reported to HPSC to date this season. There were no reports of any influenza-associated deaths occurring during this period. No acute respiratory outbreaks were reported to HPSC (via Ireland’s Computerised Infectious Disease Reporting System) during week 48 2013. There has been no evidence of sustained influenza activity as yet in Europe for the 2013/2014 season.

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