Vaccination call as death is linked to flu


A man suffering from swine flu has died in Craigavon Hospital, it has been reported.

Two others remain in a serious condition at the hospital.

It is believed the man, who had underlying health problems, died last week.

However, health official have been keen to point out, “Every winter, the Trust would expect admissions to hospital for patients who have been affected  by flu or flu-like illnesses. This is normal, particularly at this time of year when the levels of flu in the community tend to be higher.”

A spokesperson for the Southern Health and Social Care Trust added, “The Public Health Agency (PHA) collects information on influenza rates and strains in Northern Ireland. These figures are made available publicly through their Influenza Weekly Surveillance Bulletin

“As in previous years, influenza H1N1 (often known as “swine flu”) is one of the strains of flu circulating this flu season, but it is covered by the free vaccine which is being routinely offered.

“In 2009, a new flu virus emerged called influenza H1N1, which at the time was also known as ‘swine flu’. Since 2009, influenza H1N1 virus has become one of the common seasonal influenza viruses in circulation in Northern Ireland, the UK and around the world.

“The Trust does not comment on the diagnosis or treatment of any individual patients, regardless of their condition. Influenza activity is monitored by the PHA throughout the year from a range of sources, including GPs, hospitals and the laboratory. This is reported weekly during the influenza season in the PHA flu bulletin, which is freely available to the public.  Data collated from laboratories includes confirmed influenza cases from hospitals and a small number from primary care.”

Upper Bann MLA Sydney Anderson has expressed his concern following reports of the man’s death in Craigavon Hospital. He said, “It is obviously worrying to hear that someone has died who has suffered from swine flu. Whilst it seems the man did suffer from other underlying health conditions it will obviously cause some degree of concern amongst the public.

“Whilst swine flu has not been in the headlines as it has been in previous years, such incidents highlight the importance of vaccination. The flu vaccination can protect against various strains of flu, including the H1N1 swine flu, and for vulnerable groups such as older people and those with other medical conditions it is vital they ensure they are protected.

“My thoughts are with the family of the man who passed away in Craigavon, and it is vital that the importance of vaccinations are highlighted as a simple procedure could help prevent other deaths caused by swine flu.”