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30 Nov 2021

Warning: Early onset of winter flu predicted

Warning: Early onset of winter flu predicted

The roll-out of the flu vaccine is due to begin next week

A warning has been given about the possible early onset of winter flu, which could reach its height at the end of this year. 

An earlier onset of winter flu – peaking over early December and January – is possible, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

Irish hospitals could then have to contend with this increase of flu in tandem with the Delta variant Covid-19 cases.

Earlier this year concerns were expressed that we could be entering the flu season with a higher level of susceptibility than usual, which could exacerbate the risks.

It is expected that there will be a lower level of natural immunity to flu due to increased hand washing and social distancing due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The roll-out of the flu vaccine is due to begin next week in Ireland.

Seasonal influenza is a vaccine-preventable disease that each year infects approximately ten to thirty per cent of Europe's population, and causes hundreds of thousands of hospitalisations across Europe.

Older people, younger children and those with chronic conditions suffer the most, but everyone is at risk of developing serious complications—which include pneumonia, myocarditis and encephalitis—that may result in death.

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