Monday 1 January 2018
HSE confirm a number of fatalities and 73 hospitalisations in Ireland as 'Aussie flu' takes hold
D-Doc, North Dublin's out-of-hours GP service, has temporarily suspended its phone lines due to a high number of calls
Mark O'Regan
December 31 2017 2:30 AM

The first flu deaths have been recorded in Ireland as the dreaded 'Aussie flu' sweeps the country.

Until last week there had been no reported deaths from flu so far this winter. However, the HSE has now confirmed a number of fatalities.

The main strain posing a risk in Ireland is the so-called 'Aussie flu', a virulent strain of influenza A. The H3N2 subtype triggered two-and-a-half times the normal number of cases in Australia.

The elderly who may have compromised immune systems are particularly susceptible.

Cases of swine flu and the B strain have also been detected.

It comes as the HSE's latest weekly influenza surveillance report, for the week ending December 17, recorded an increase in influenza activity.

Flu cases have led to 73 hospitalisations so far this winter, 19 of which occurred last week. It has now been confirmed for the first time that lives have been lost.

"There have been a few deaths already... under 10 people have died so far this year...