Press Release

Update on Influenza A{H1N1}

The World Health Organisation today (11th June, 2009) raised the phase of the Influenza Type A (H1N1) to level 6. ‘Pandemic’ means that an influenza virus, new to humans, has appeared, is spreading and is causing disease in many parts of the world. Level 6 means that there is increased and sustained transmission in human population. The WHO has assessed the severity of the current pandemic as ‘moderate’

The Department of Health & Children and the HSE anticipated this development and continues to plan and prepare in the event of widespread transmission of the disease. The public are reminded that there is a national pandemic influenza plan available, which contains details of actions to be taken at each level of pandemic. The National Public Health Emergency Team has reviewed the Plan and is satisfied that all actions which need to be taken, are being taken.

Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer of the Department of Health & Children said ‘notwithstanding the increase in level by the WHO, people in Ireland can be reassured that there is no increase in the risk to them. Irish cases are low in number and are regarded as mild. The Department and the HSE are satisfied that the actions we are taking are proportionate in the current circumstances but contingency plans are in place, if required. However, again, we would like to remind people to help themselves avoid infection through personal health protection measures, including washing their hands thoroughly and sneezing into a tissue and disposing of it immediately’