Infectious diseases expert warns of illness due ‘back with a vengeance’ this winter

An infectious diseases expert has warned of a common illness that is due back in Ireland ‘with a vengeance’ after being relatively absent for a number of years.

Professor Sam McConkey says there have been relatively low numbers of influenza cases here and says there are fears it will be back with a bang between December and March.

Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast, Mr McConkey said: “I fear that we could be hit with very bad influenza sometime between December and March.”

READ MORE:Irish health expert predicts what Covid situation we will be in for this winter

“It hasn’t really hit us here and there’s a history in the past of when influenza doesn’t hit us for a couple of years, it comes back with a vengeance.”

McConkey went on to say that people need to book themselves in for the flu vaccine and should exercise caution this winter by staying “away from people who are snottering and sick.”

If you develop symptoms you should stay at home where possible according to the expert, and he advised of new legislation which allows workers up to five days of paid statutory sick leave.

German health officials have taken steps to avoid an influx of cases with the reintroduction of measures like mask-wearing for the winter months.

McConkey said: “I think some of what they’re saying is right. If there is, what I would call, an immediate and definite threat to human life, then those sort of mandatory restrictions are really very important.”

However, he said he thinks it’s likely that any Covid measures brought in to curb the spread of a winter virus will be “targeted” rather than being imposed nationwide.

“I’m hoping that this winter will not be so bad and that it won’t be an imminent threat to human life.”

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