First flu death of the past two winters reported

Data shows levels of RSV, which mostly affects young children, remain high

One laboratory-confirmed case involving the A(H3) strain of influenza was notified to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre  the week before last. Photograph: iStock

One laboratory-confirmed case involving the A(H3) strain of influenza was notified to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre the week before last. Photograph: iStock

 

The first flu death of the past two winters has been reported.

One laboratory-confirmed case involving the A(H3) strain of influenza was notified to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) the week before last.

There were no flu deaths last winter and at least 110 in the 2019/20 season, according to previous HPSC data.

Flu levels remain low, according to the surveillance centre, in spite of the reopening of society in recent months. Just three cases of the flu have been notified so far this winter, including one which was reported last week.

In contrast, levels of RSV respiratory virus, which mostly affects young children, remain at very high levels and increased in the week from November 7th to 13th.

A total of 510 RSV cases were notified during the week, up from 483 cases the previous week.

Three-quarters of RSV cases were in the 0-4 age group, compared with 95 per cent a month earlier. Detections in other age groups increased over the period, notably in those aged 65 years and older.

Hospital inpatients

Some 239 notified RSV cases were hospital inpatients, down from 258 the previous week.

The sentinel GP influenza-like illness consultation rate was 16.0 per 100,000 population, a slight increase over the previous week. This is below the baseline rate, though for over-65s, the figure is slightly above the baseline.

The HPSC says a number of possible cases in children recently administered the nasal flu vaccine were notified and are being investigated. Influenza RNA can be detected in PCR tests in children within 14 days of receiving the flu vaccine, it says. These vaccine virus detections were not notified as confirmed flu cases.