Flu rate rises alongside hike in proportion of respiratory infection deaths: PHA

The rate of flu consultations has continued to rise across the North, according to the Public Health Agency (PHA), which has also reported that respiratory infections have accounted for a greater proportion of deaths this flu season than in the last two winters.

Thursday, 18th January 2018, 5:14 pm
Updated Thursday, 18th January 2018, 6:22 pm

On Thursday the PHA stated that between the number of GP consultations for people with flu-like symptoms rose from 52.6 per 100,000 population in week 1, 2017 to 65.2 per 100, 000 population in week 2, January 8 and January 14.

But while rates continued to increase the level of increase was much lower than between week 52 and week 1, when the rate of doctors' consultations almost doubled.

Rates remain above the Moving Epidemic Method (MEM) threshold for moderate level flu activity.

The number of flu detections in hospital wards decreased from a total of 274 detections in week 1, 2018 to 237 in week 2.

There were 19 cases reported in Intensive Care Units (ICU) with laboratory confirmed influenza in week 2 giving a total of 50 cases this season to date.

Three deaths were reported in week 2 among ICU patients bringing the total deaths in ICU with confirmed influenza to eight.

In terms of deaths, the PHA have observed that respiratory infections have caused a bigger proportion of deaths this flu season than in each of the last two years.

"During week 2, 2018 the proportion of deaths related to respiratory keywords increased from 38 per cent in week 1 to 43 per cent in week 2.

"In week 2 there were 481 registered deaths, of which 205 related to specific respiratory infections. The proportion of deaths attributed to specific respiratory infections is higher at this point in the season to the same period in 2016/17 (33 per cent) and in 2015/16 (29 per cent)," the PHA stated.