An unexpected Influenza strain that people are not as well protected against by vaccine is now rising over the common Australian flu in Ireland.
There are two main strains of the flu virus in circulation this winter – the influenza A (H3N2) which was prevalent in Australia and the B Yamagata strain.
The spread of flu has risen significantly in recent weeks and put the health system under pressure, and now there are concerns about the effectiveness of the HSE vaccine on all strains.
The Irish Independent today reports that 60-70% of flu cases in Ireland are from the B flu strain. However, is it not known how much coverage the HSE’s freely administered vaccine will have on this strain.
Influenza B Yamagata flu is a strain that particularly affects children and is said to be less severe than the A strain.
The HSE is continuing to urge people in high-risk groups to get their flu vaccine if they haven’t gotten it already. They said: “To date, based on antigenic characterisation of circulating influenza viruses in Australia, the seasonal influenza vaccines appear to be a moderate to good match for circulating virus strains, depending on the strain. Vaccine effectiveness estimates, which provide an indication of how well the vaccine provides protection against influenza, will not be completed until the end of the influenza season.”
Meanwhile, management at Letterkenny University Hospital have warned visitors with flu symptoms to stay away, and if incoming patients have flu, they should phone in advance of arrival so appropriate measures are taken.
There are 44 people awaiting admission at A&E in today’s trolley watch at LUH. Eleven people are waiting on trolleys while 33 are waiting in overflow wards to be admitted. Letterkenny is the second-worst hospital in Ireland for overcrowding this Tuesday.Tags: