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CMO has two words of warning for Irish public amid Covid, RSV and flu case rise

Irish Mirror logo Irish Mirror 02/12/2022 Sophie Collins
CMO has two words of warning for Irish public amid Covid, RSV and flu case rise © Getty CMO has two words of warning for Irish public amid Covid, RSV and flu case rise

The Chief Medical Officer has urged the public to ‘get vaccinated’ as more and more people fall ill with Covid, the Flu and RSV.

Professor Breda Smyth said health officials are aware of the increase in cases diagnosed as Respiratory Syncytial Virus, but that the current wave has peaked.

She admitted that this wave in cases was "substantially bigger" than any previous wave we have seen in Ireland.

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Speaking to RTÉ's Six One News, she explained that it was quite a common virus before the pandemic and most children would have had an infection by the age of two.

The majority of children report having a mild symptoms and can usually be treated at home - however, in recent weeks there have been reports of more children being admitted to hospital for treatment.

"We do think we have seen the peak of it, but as you know with viruses it's very unpredictable," she told RTE News.

"We have seen a reduction in cases by 15 to 17 percent in the last week. In the most recent figures we have, we have seen over 600 cases. The previous week it was over 700 cases," Prof Smyth said.

There has been a 25% reduction of hospitalisations in the last week and Prof Smyth said she hopes that downturn will continue.

However, she said in comparison to last year's RSV season, the highest weekly count was over 500, "so we still are higher than that".

Prof Smyth went on to say officials are also beginning to see the kick-off of flu season in Ireland, with an increase in cases over the last week.

She said she is particularly concerned about children and the older population and has urged people to get their vaccines.

"We have almost 70% uptake in our over 65s in the winter booster, but we haven't yet achieved our target of 75%," she said.

She asked people who haven't had their booster already, "please do so and protect yourself and try and prevent illness".

As Christmas nears, Prof Smyth stressed the importance of vaccination by saying: "We know we're going into a season of inter-generational mixing at Christmas so it's really important that we all enjoy ourselves and we can do that by protecting ourselves."

In terms of Covid, however, it seems the threat is weakening in the community as Professor Mills said earlier this week: "Ireland has very low cases, not zero, but very low cases of Covid.

"It has significantly more of a problem with RSV in young children and now with influenza. So, I don't think at this stage I can foresee there's going to be twindemic with Covid and an influenza.”

He said this "is probably down to the fact that first of all so many people were vaccinated and secondly so many people were infected during the early part of this year".

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