Flu update – Week 7, 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.

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