Flu update – Week 5, 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.

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