Update by Dr John Gallagher (Employment Health Advisors, EHA): During week 6 of 2011 Influenza activity continued to decline in Ireland. The sentinel GP influenza-like illness (ILI) consultation rate decreased from the rate reported during week 5 2011. ILI rates have decreased in all age groups, with the exception of those aged 65 years or older but still remain above baseline levels. Influenza B is the predominant circulating influenza type in Ireland. The weekly number of hospitalised cases of influenza decreased. To date (February 16th 2011) this season, 884 confirmed influenza cases have been hospitalised and 22 deaths have been reported to HPSC. No new outbreaks of influenza/ILI were reported during week 6 2011.
As the 2010/2011 influenza rates to continue to decline we would advise you to mark “influenza vaccination” in your diaries as a priority for the 2011/2012 season. Vaccines for the 2011/2012 season should become available in October 2011-just over 6 months away. It is likely given the experience of the past two years that Influenza A H1N1 will continue to circulate next season. Influenza vaccine is best given early in the season.