Press Release

Swine Flu Update – Wednesday, 23rd December 2009

ILI rate:

The Department of Health & Children and the HSE advised today (23rd December 2009) that the rate of influenza-like illness (ILI) for the week ending Sunday 20th December 2009 (week 51 2009), was 42.4 per 100,000 population. This rate is a decrease from the revised rate of 51.3 per 100,000 population reported during week 50, 2009.

Age-specific ILI rates:

During week 51, 2009, sentinel GPs reported an ILI  rate of 113.7 per 100,000  in the 0-4 year age group, an ILI rate of 36.0 per 100,000 in the 5-14 year age group, an ILI rate of 41.7 per 100,000 in the 15-64 year age group and an ILI rate of 8.6 per 100,000  in those aged 65 years and older.

Estimated number of H1N1 cases:

The estimated number of Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 cases in Ireland for week 51 2009 is 2,061. The cumulative estimated attack rate (%) up to week 51 2009 is 4.8%.

Hospitalised and ICU cases:

1,027 cases of confirmed pandemic (H1N1) 2009 have been hospitalised to date. Currently, 150 cases of confirmed pandemic (H1N1) 2009 remain hospitalised. Eighty-seven cases of confirmed pandemic (H1N1) 2009 have been admitted to ICU to date. Ten cases of confirmed pandemic (H1N1) 2009 currently remain in ICU. Twenty-two patients with confirmed pandemic (H1N1) 2009 have died to date. There have been no additional deaths reported since last week’s media briefing.

As can be seen above, the rate of infection in children under 5 is significantly higher than that in the rest of the population. The Department of Health & Children and the HSE are reminding parents and guardians that children under five are more at risk of being hospitalised from flu complications. The HSE is writing to the parents of children under 5 inviting them to bring their children to a Mass Vaccination Clinic and we would urge all parents to take up this offer.

We want to make sure that we protect as many children as possible from the effects of the flu and a vaccine programme is now being rolled out in schools and this programme will resume after the school holidays. Babies aged under 6 months cannot get the Swine Flu Vaccine, but we will offer a vaccine to anyone living with a child under 6 months to protect the baby. Appointments can be made for a Vaccination Clinic, or further information obtained, on or by contacting the HSE Information Line on  1850 24 1850.

Further updated details on the vaccine programme will be available on the Irish Medicines Board website, later today.