Five cases of swine flu at Wex­ford Gen­eral

New Ross Standard - - NEWS -

FIVE pa­tients are be­ing treated at Wex­ford Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal for the H1N1 virus.

Hos­pi­tal man­age­ment confirmed the pa­tients pre­sented over re­cent days with flu-like symp­toms, which upon ex­am­i­na­tion tran­spired to be the virus, also known as swine flu, which is trans­mit­ted from hu­man to hu­man. When first iden­ti­fied in 2009 it turned into a pan­demic and ef­fected mil­lions world­wide. Now the H1N1 cir­cu­lates as an an­nual flu virus and the sea­sonal flu vac­cine pro­vides pro­tec­tion against it.

Con­sul­tant at the hos­pi­tal’s emer­gency depart­ment, Dr Paul Kelly said the hos­pi­tal was in­un­dated with pa­tients pre­sent­ing with flu-like symp­toms at the week­end and on Mon­day.

‘We are very busy but the pa­tients have been very good and the wards have been cop­ing very well. There is a back­log in emer­gency pa­tients and we had eight pa­tients on trol­leys this morn­ing,’ Dr Kelly said.

He said com­pared to other hos­pi­tal, Wex­ford Gen­eral has man­aged the surge in pa­tients very well. ‘Peo­ple are pre­sent­ing with mul­ti­ple med­i­cal prob­lems and we got five H1N1 cases. It’s very vir­u­lent in younger peo­ple in their twen­ties up. We had an aw­ful lot of pa­tients in with flu­like symp­toms, many who did not need to come to the emer­gency depart­ment. The peo­ple at risk are those with chronic air­wave ill­nesses, di­a­betes, the el­derly and preg­nant pa­tients. This flu has only started to peak now.’

He said pa­tients suf­fer­ing from the H1N1 virus can ex­pect to be ill for a week.

Dr Kelly said un­like in other years the right strain of flu vac­ci­na­tion is avail­able now, urg­ing peo­ple to get it, es­pe­cially those in risk cat­e­gories.

Sev­eral hos­pi­tal staff mem­bers have had to call in sick due to con­tract­ing the flu, but hos­pi­tal man­age­ment have han­dled the sit­u­a­tion, Dr Kelly said. He called on peo­ple suf­fer­ing from flu-like symp­toms to see their G.P. and not at­tend the hos­pi­tal A&E depart­ment where they would en­counter lengthy wait­ing pe­ri­ods.

‘Rest, parac­eta­mol and plenty of flu­ids are what are re­quired for these symp­toms. We had eight pa­tients on trol­leys to­day and they all got beds fairly quickly. The wards have been very good in tak­ing in pa­tients. We have a very good dis­charge lounge and med­i­cal as­sess­ment unit.’

Dr Kelly said most pa­tients are look­ing af­ter them­selves much bet­ter, adding that Wex­ford G.P.’s have been fan­tas­tic over Christ­mas, work­ing ex­tra days and late into the evenings and nights to see pa­tients. ‘As a re­sult our num­bers here have been pretty sta­ble. I was ex­pect­ing a lot more pa­tients last week but they didn’t ar­rive un­til the week­end and on Mon­day when we got a bit of a rush. We are much bet­ter pre­pared this year than be­fore thanks to the GPs and the home­care teams so we’re cop­ing rel­a­tively well. Ten years ago we had 60 pa­tients on trol­leys one day and a ward set up in the old out­pa­tients so we’ve come a long way. The nurses have been fan­tas­tic push­ing pa­tient flow and the man­age­ment team have been su­perb in recog­nis­ing and deal­ing with the prob­lems.’

Cllr Michael Shee­han cuts the rib­bon at the of­fi­cial open­ing of the re­branded Circle K filling sta­tion at The Quay, New Ross.

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