05/02/2010

Swine Flu Cases Still Falling

The level of flu activity across Northern Ireland has again dropped.

The Department of Health's weekly flu bulletin - covering the week ending Friday 29 January shows that GP consultation rates for flu have decreased from 23.2/100,000 population to 18.1/100,000 -a 22% decrease.

This means that rates remain well below the Northern Ireland threshold for seasonal influenza activity.

There were no swine flu detections with the cumulative total of 1,361 swine flu detections still current.

There were no new hospitalised cases this week, but there have been a total of 574 (updated) hospitalised swine flu cases as at noon 3 February.

There were no new swine flu deaths this week - although there has been a total 18 swine flu related deaths in Northern Ireland.
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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.

"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 winter, so take up the opportunity to protect your child for the future. Vaccination remains the most effective protection against the swine flu virus," he said, noting that "for the vast majority of people, swine flu remains a relatively mild illness from which you will make a full recovery."

See: Swine Flu Vaccine 'Still Vital'

(BmcC/GK)

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