29/01/2010

Latest Swine Flu Tragedy Reported

While GP consultation rates for the flu have continued to fall, - down 36% - with rates remaining well below the Northern Ireland threshold for seasonal influenza activity, there has been another swine flu related fatality.

The death of a woman with underlying health conditions who tested positive for swine flu brings the total number of swine flu related deaths in Northern Ireland to 18 at 27 January, with two other local people not listed as they died outside NI.

As well as the tragic death, there was just one swine flu detection last week as compared to two in the previous week, a cumulative total of 1,359 swine flu detections in Northern Ireland.

A cumulative total of 574 hospitalised swine flu cases has also been reported but there were no new hospitalised cases reported.
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Health Minister Michael McGimpsey said: "Sadly, we have been notified of a further swine flu related death in an adult. I would like to express my sincere sympathy to the family and would ask everyone to respect their privacy and allow them to grieve for their loved one in peace."

NI Chief Medical Officer, Dr Michael McBride said: "I welcome the continued decline in swine flu consultations, detections and hospitalisations; however I am concerned that this will lead to complacency on the part of the public. I must reinforce the importance of vaccination of those in the at risk groups," he said.

"One particular group which I must highlight are children aged from six months to five years.

"This age group has seen the highest rate of hospitalisations during the pandemic. The H1N1 virus is likely to be circulating next year, so take up the opportunity to protect your child for the future. Vaccination remains the most effective protection against the swine flu virus," he explained.

(BMcC/GK)

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