Influenza activity remains widespread and at high levels, with some indicators starting to decrease, the Ireland Health Protection Surveillance Centre reported today.

Ireland map/CIA
Ireland map/CIA

The sentinel GP influenza-like illness (ILI) consultation rate decreased to 90.5 per 100,000 population during week 4 2018 (week ending January 28th) from 103.2 per 100,000 in the previous week. Influenza-like illness GP consultation rates were highest in those aged 5-14 years. Influenza hospitalizations and outbreaks continue to be reported at high levels.

Flu activity is expected to remain at high levels for the next three to four weeks. People in at risk groups are urged to get vaccinated against influenza as it is still not too late.

Influenza B and Influenza A (H3N2) are currently the main flu viruses circulating in the community with more influenza B reported.

Health officials say vaccination remains the most effective means of preventing infection by seasonal influenza viruses and can reduce severe disease that can lead to hospitalization and death. The vaccine takes two weeks to take effect once received.

The influenza vaccine is available free of charge from GPs for all people in at risk groups, and from pharmacists for everyone in at risk groups aged 18 years and over.