Number of swine flu deaths in winter season rises to 26

Six people died in first week of March as a result of illness linked to the H1N1 strain

Latest figures from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) show there have been 1,258 confirmed cases of hospitalisation caused by influenza during the 2015/2016 season, with swine flu accounting for the highest number of hospital cases.  Photograph: Getty Images.

Latest figures from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) show there have been 1,258 confirmed cases of hospitalisation caused by influenza during the 2015/2016 season, with swine flu accounting for the highest number of hospital cases. Photograph: Getty Images.

 

Six more people died from swine flu in the first week of March, bringing the 2015/2016 seasonal total to 26.

Overall, 38 people have died from various strains of influenza. The six deaths recorded between February 29th and March 6th were all associated with the H1N1 strain, also known as swine flu.

There has been a downward trend in weekly flu detection rates, which stood at 42.9 per 100,000 population on March 6th compared to 60.8 the previous week. These figures are substantially above the national baseline figure of 18 per 100,000 which indicates the flu season is ongoing.

Latest figures from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) show there have been 1,258 confirmed cases of hospitalisation caused by influenza during the 2015/2016 season, with swine flu accounting for the highest number of these.

There have been 110 admissions to critical care units for influenza cases over the same period. The median age of deaths is 64 years. There was one recorded fatality associated with swine flu in the last week of February.

The 2015/2016 season is still classified as being of moderate severity, based on the number of detected cases, according to the HPSC. Flu symptoms have been most widespread in the east and the southeast of the country, with mainly localised outbreaks in the northwest, west and southwest.

Hospital emergency departments have been placed under severe strain over recent months as detections peaked, with some hospitals postponing non-urgent surgeries on certain days to cope with the pressure.