Vaccination advice as number of flu cases increase

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AN increase in the number of influenza cases in the region has prompted the Department of Public Health Mid West to advise people to avail of the flu vaccine to reduce the risk of severe illness.

Flu is a highly infectious illness that affects all age groups and may result in serious disease with poor outcomes for our most vulnerable, particularly the elderly and those with weak immune systems. It can also have an impact on healthcare settings where an outbreak occurs.

Public Health Mid-West recorded an increase of nine cases of influenza between February 6 and 12. This rate remained consistent each week until an increase of 19 cases between February 27 to March 5.

A spokesman for the Department said that as of March 5, there have been 50 influenza cases in the region since the start of the flu season last October.

“We can expect further increases in infections in the community as society returns to pre-pandemic levels of social activity. While the flu did not circulate widely in the Mid-West region during the 2020/21 flu season, there is now evidence that influenza is circulating as the numbers of cases notified have increased in recent weeks,” he added.

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“The flu vaccine is safe, and effective in reducing the risk of serious infection. We ask that you be extra vigilant of misinformation and disinformation on social media, and follow trusted sources, such as www.hse.ie, if you wish to learn more about the flu and the available vaccines this season”.

You can get a free flu vaccine if you are:

*Aged 50 and older

*Under 50 with a long term illness

*Aged two to 17 years

*A healthcare worker

*Pregnant

*Living in a nursing home or other long-term care facility

*In regular contact with pigs, poultry or waterfowl