Update by Dr J Gallagher, Employment Health Advisors (EHA):
All indicators of influenza activity in Ireland remained at low levels during weeks 16 and 17 2014.
The sentinel GP ILI consultation rates remained low during weeks 16 and 17 2014, at 4.7 and 3.1 per 100,000 population, respectively. Influenza positivity reported from the NVRL decreased further and remained low during weeks 16 and 17 2014. Eighteen (8.7%) influenza positive specimens were reported from the NVRL during week 16 2014 and seven (4.8%) during week 17 2014. Twelve confirmed influenza hospitalised cases were reported to HPSC during week 16 2014 and three were reported during week 17 2014, bringing the total number of hospitalised cases reported this season to 659.
The highest age specific rates for confirmed influenza cases admitted to hospital were in those aged less than 1 year and those aged 65 years and older. 33 influenza-associated deaths were reported to HPSC to date this season. 2 acute respiratory outbreaks were reported to HPSC during weeks 16 & 17 2014, one in a residential care facility and one in a hospital.
Overall, both influenza activity and circulation of influenza viruses in Europe are declining.