Shock Reminder Of Deadly Flu Virus

Although GP consultation rates for flu or flu-like symptoms continued their decrease - being down by 19% in the past week - there's been a shocking reminder of the possible deadly consequences of catching swine flu.

The news that a nine-year-old child in Northern Ireland died from swine flu this week has shaken any complacency that may have been felt within the community.

The death of the child, who had underlying health conditions, was announced in the Department of Health's weekly swine flu update this morning.

NI Health Minister Michael McGimpsey (pictured) expressed his "sincere sympathy" to the child's family and the Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride said the child's death was a "tragic reminder that the swine flu virus is still prevalent".

To date, 16 people from Northern Ireland who had swine flu have died. Fourteen of them died in Northern Ireland, one in England and one in Spain.

However, as well as GP consultation rates falling and there being a slight fall in out of hours calls for flu and flu-like illness - from 190 in Wk 49 to 187 in Wk 50 - or a 2% decrease, there were still a further 15 swine influenza detections in Wk 50.
News Image
That means a cumulative total of 1,344 swine influenza detections in Northern Ireland as at noon 16 December with 573 hospitalised swine flu cases - although the new hospitalised cases have decreased from nine in Wk 49 to four in Wk 50.

But, while no new swine flu related deaths have been reported in week 50, within the last few days, the unnamed nine-year-old child has died, bringing the official total number of swine flu related deaths to 14, (16).

On vaccination, the Chief Medical Officer, Dr Michael McBride said: "The response to phase one of the vaccination programme has been excellent and I am pleased so many have taken up the offer to protect themselves from swine flu.

"In Northern Ireland, we have information that almost 220,000 people have now been vaccinated. Returns are still coming in from around a fifth of GP practices, so the actual number vaccinated is likely to be somewhat greater.

"The Health and Social Care Board also continues to progress plans for phase two of the vaccination programme.

"Children over six months and under five years will be called for vaccination by either their local HSC Trust or GP practice in the coming weeks," he said.

See: Drop In Swine Flu Cases


Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

27 November 2020
Over 1,230 Road Traffic Offences Detected During Road Safety Week
More than 1,230 detections for a range of road traffic offences during Road Safety Week 2020, according to preliminary figures from the Police and the Road Safety Partnership.
03 February 2012
Cross Border Co-Operation On Child Protection Launched
A new joint protocol aimed at protecting vulnerable children on both sides of the border has been formally launched today.
06 January 2011
NI Swine Flu Cases Accelerating
Swine flu, the H1N1 virus is firmly back in the news as new cases continue to rise. A significant jump in infections recorded in Northern Ireland has seen the number of people treated for swine flu increase from 136 to 185 in the last week of 2010.
06 August 2009
Further Swine Flu Cases Confirmed
Lab tested cases of swine flu across Northern Ireland continue to rise. However, while many more people have been diagnosed as swine flu sufferers, the number of laboratory confirmed cases of swine flu have risen by just 16 - a far lower rate of increase than anywhere else in the British Isles.
15 January 2010
Flu Pandemic 'Exaggerated'
Northern Ireland's latest swine flu figures are still on the way down.