HSE confirms flu death of elderly patient in Limerick

Seasonal virus fatality is first Limerick case since outbreak

Fintan Walsh

Reporter:

Fintan Walsh

Email:

fintan.walsh@limerickleader.ie

HSE confirms flu death of elderly patient in Limerick

The HSE is asking those in risk groups — especially people aged over 65 — to avail of the flu vaccine

ONE OF Ireland’s worst flu outbreaks has claimed the life of an elderly patient in Limerick — the first case recorded in the region this winter.

The HSE confirmed to the Limerick Leader that on the week of January 22, there had been one death from the flu reported to the authority and that patient was over 80.

Though the number of patients with influenza-like illnesses (ILI) is decreasing, the rates are still “well above baseline levels”, a spokesperson for the HSE explained.

And because the flu outbreak is to last until around mid-February, the HSE is asking those in risk groups — especially people aged over 65 — to avail of the flu vaccine, if they have not yet.

The spokesperson said that, by January 22, “confirmed influenza hospitalisations and outbreaks remained elevated; however both are continuing to decrease. Those aged 65 years and older are most affected from severe influenza this season.”

In Ireland, there have been 36 confirmed deaths and a further 35 critical care patients as a direct result of the seasonal flu virus.

Recently, the assistant national director of public health, Dr Kevin Kelleher, said that it was important that older people, carers and healthcare workers receive the flu vaccine.

“It is also important that antiviral medications are used for the treatment of influenza in all at-risk groups and in particular in the older age groups.  Antivirals have been shown to reduce the duration of symptoms and to protect against hospitalisation due to influenza and death from influenza.”

During the peak of the outbreak this month, some local GPs were treating up to 40 patients, daily, with flu-like symptoms.

It was also reported that a number of pharmacies across the city and county were running out of much-needed medicine for sick people, as a result of respiratory infections, the winter vomiting bug and the flu.