Swine flu virus patient being treated at Wexford Hospital
At least one person is being treated for the swine flu virus at Wexford General Hospital.
Sources close to the hospital said two people had last week been treated for swine flu, one of them a paramedic, however the HSE would not confirm this.
The second person was said by the sources to have been a patient, who was collected by ambulance from an address in Wexford town.
In a carefully-worded response to queries posed by this newspaper, the HSE denied there was an outbreak of swine flu at the hospital or that any patient had acquired flu there.
However, it said a number of patients had presented at the hospital with influenza-type illnesses and 'one patient had been hospitalised with the H1N1 strain,' a strain that is commonly referred to swine flu.
'Most people with this flu will not require inpatient care. The hospital is following the national guidelines from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre which can be accessed at www.hpsc.ie,' said the HSE.
The HSE did not comment on reports that medical professionals at the hospital, including paramedics, had been advised in an 'official email' to make sure they were vaccinated against swine flu.
Swine flu is a respiratory disease caused by the H1N1 virus that has been circulating worldwide since April, 2009.
The flu virus can be highly contagious and can spread quickly from person to person through tiny drops in coughs and sneezes. If you are close to a person with flu you can breathe them in and become infected. Droplets can also be passed from surfaces like door handles and hand rails, which can carry bacteria for up to 24 hours. The symptoms of swine flu are similar to the symptoms of seasonal flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, pains in the muscles or joints, headache, chills, fatigue and runny nose. Some people have reported diarrhoea and vomiting. A high fever, which is a temperature of over 38º Celsius (100.4º Fahrenheit), is the key symptom. The vast majority of patients have both a fever and cough. Most swine flu patients report a sudden onset of symptoms. Anyone with a flu-like illness is advised to contact their doctor by telephone.