January 7, 2014
Update By Dr D J Gallagher, Employment Health Advisors (EHA).
Influenza activity levels remained at low levels in Ireland during weeks 51 & 52 2013; however sporadic confirmed cases of influenza are being reported. The sentinel GP influenza-like illness (ILI) consultation rate remained low at 10.1 per 100,000 population during week 52 2013 and 7.4 per 100,000 population during week 51 2013. ILI rates remained below the Irish baseline threshold (21.0 per 100,000 population). ILI rates remained at low levels in all age groups. Influenza positivity remained low during week 51 2013, with seven (3.4%) influenza positive specimens reported from the National Virus Reference Laboratory (NVRL): 3 influenza A (not subtyped) and 4 influenza A (H3). No influenza positive specimens were reported from the NVRL for week 52 2013. There were no reports of any influenza-associated deaths occurring during this period. One acute respiratory outbreak (influenza negative) was reported in a residential institute in HSE-S to HPSC (via Ireland’s Computerised Infectious Disease Reporting System) during week 51 2013. In North America the influenza season has started, with influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 predominating. For the rest of the northern hemisphere as well as in the southern hemisphere influenza activity remained low.