Experts are urging people in Ireland to get the flu vaccine as the country faces its deadliest flu outbreak in 50 years.
Deaths have already been confirmed due to the Aussie Flu that is sweeping the country and the HSE is urging those in high-risk groups to receive the vaccine.
- All those aged 65 years and older
- People including children with chronic illness requiring regular medical follow-up such as chronic lung disease, chronic heart disease, chronic neurological disorders, neurodevelopmental disorders and diabetes
- Those with lower immunity due to disease or treatment and all cancer patients
- All pregnant women. The vaccine can be given safely at any stage of pregnancy.
- Those with morbid obesity i.e. Body Mass Index ≥ 40
- Residents of nursing homes, old people's homes and other long stay facilities
- Health care workers and carer’s of those in risk groups.
Dr Kevin Kelleher, director of the HSE’s Health Protection Surveillance Centre said:
'There are deaths every year that happen directly as a result of the flu which account for about 18 to 20 fatalities. On average, there are about 400 to 600 deaths a year which are associated with the flu indirectly.
'For example, these are people who may have died because of the heart disease, linked to the flu.'
Cases of swine flu have also been detected as the most serious epidemic since 1968 takes hold.