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Meehan M.,Temple University | Murchan S.,Health Protection Surveillance Center | Bergin S.,Temple University | O'Flanagan D.,Health Protection Surveillance Center | And 2 more authors.
Eurosurveillance | Year: 2013

Invasive group A streptococcal (iGAS) infections have been notifiable in Ireland since 2004. Incidence rates (2004-2011) have ranged from 0.8 to 1.65 per 100,000. In 2012, the iGAS rate rose to 2.66 per 100,000 and was associated with a high proportion of emm1 isolates. A further increase in January to June 2013 has been associated with increased prevalence of emm3. Public health departments and clinicians have been alerted to this increase. © 2007-2013. All rights reserved.

O'Flanagan D.,Health Protection Surveillance Center
Euro surveillance : bulletin Européen sur les maladies transmissibles = European communicable disease bulletin | Year: 2014

In 2011, the Irish Medicines Board received reports of onset of narcolepsy following vaccination against influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 with Pandemrix. A national steering committee was convened to examine the association between narcolepsy and pandemic vaccination. We conducted a retrospective population-based cohort study. Narcolepsy cases with onset from 1 April 2009 to 31 December 2010 were identified through active case finding. Narcolepsy history was gathered from medical records. Pandemic vaccination status was obtained from vaccination databases. Two independent experts classified cases using the Brighton case definition. Date of onset was defined as date of first healthcare contact for narcolepsy symptoms. Incidence of narcolepsy in vaccinated and non-vaccinated individuals was compared. Of 32 narcolepsy cases identified, 28 occurred in children/adolescents and for 24 first healthcare contact was between April 2009 and December 2010. Narcolepsy incidence was 5.7 (95% confidence interval (CI): 3.4-8.9) per 100,000 children/adolescents vaccinated with Pandemrix and 0.4 (95% CI: 0.1-1.0) per 100,000 unvaccinated children/adolescents (relative risk: 13.9; absolute attributable risk: 5.3 cases per 100,000 vaccinated children/adolescents). This study confirms the crude association between Pandemrix vaccination and narcolepsy as observed in Finland and Sweden. The vaccine is no longer in use in Ireland. Further studies are needed to explore the immunogenetic mechanism of narcolepsy.

Barret A.S.,Health Protection Surveillance Center
Euro surveillance : bulletin européen sur les maladies transmissibles = European communicable disease bulletin | Year: 2010

We report a community pertussis outbreak that occurred in a small town located in the northwest of Ireland. Epidemiological investigations suggest that waning immunity and the absence of a booster dose during the second year of life could have contributed to the outbreak. The report also highlights the need to reinforce the surveillance of pertussis in Ireland and especially to improve the clinical and laboratory diagnosis of cases.

Gee S.,Health Protection Surveillance Center | Cotter S.,Health Protection Surveillance Center | O'Flanagan D.,Health Protection Surveillance Center
Eurosurveillance | Year: 2010

Measles cases are increasing in Ireland, with 320 cases notified since August 2009. Nearly two-thirds of these cases (n=206) were unvaccinated. In the early stages of the outbreak a substantial number of cases were linked to the Traveller community with some cases also reported among the Roma community, other citi-zens from eastern Europe and children whose parents objected to vaccination. By February 2010, there had been considerable spread to the general population.

Nicolay N.,Health Protection Surveillance Center
Critical care and resuscitation : journal of the Australasian Academy of Critical Care Medicine | Year: 2010

To describe the incidence, clinical characteristics and outcomes of critically ill patients in Ireland with pandemic (H1N1) 2009 infection, and to provide a dynamic assessment of the burden of such cases on Irish intensive care units. Multicentre prospective observational study of all adult patients admitted to any of the 30 ICUs in the Republic of Ireland between 15 July 2009 and 30 May 2010. Patient demographics, clinical characteristics and ICU mortality; ICU admissions, bed-days, bed occupancy rates and distribution. Seventy-seven adult patients with pandemic (H1N1) 2009 infection were admitted to 27 of 30 Irish ICUs. The median age was 43 years (IQR, 30-56 years); 67 patients (88%) were aged under 65; 39 (51%) were male. Sixty-two patients (82%) had comorbid conditions, including obesity (36%), respiratory disease (34%) and malignancy or immunosuppression (20%). Eight (11%) were pregnant, and 27 (36%) were smokers. Sixty-seven patients were mechanically ventilated, 24 (32%) required renal replacement therapy, 39 (51%) received vasopressors and four (5%) received extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. Of 14 patients (18%) who died in the ICU, two had no pre-existing comorbidities. The ICU admission rate of patients with pandemic (H1N1) 2009 infection was 22.5/million population. A total of 1882 ICU bed-days (557.5 bed-days/million adult population) were consumed, equating to a 3.9% bed occupancy rate, with a peak of 14.0% in October 2009. Median length of stay was 12 days (IQR, 7-34 days). The 2009 influenza A (H1N1) pandemic was a significant burden on Irish ICUs, predominantly affecting the tertiary centres. The demographics and clinical characteristics were similar to those described in the southern hemisphere, suggesting such data may inform future resource planning for similar threats.

Martin J.,Health Protection Surveillance Center
Euro surveillance : bulletin européen sur les maladies transmissibles = European communicable disease bulletin | Year: 2011

Invasive group A streptococcal infections (iGAS) are a major clinical and public health challenge. iGAS is a notifiable disease in Ireland since 2004. The aim of this paper is to describe the epidemiology of iGAS in Ireland for the first time over the seven-year period from 2004 to 2010. The Irish national electronic infectious disease reporting system was used by laboratories to enter the source of iGAS isolates, and by departments of public health to enter clinical and epidemiological details. We extracted and analysed data from 1 January 2004 to 31 December 2010. Over the study period, 400 iGAS cases were notified. The annual incidence of iGAS doubled, from 0.8 per 100,000 population in 2004 to 1.6 in 2008, and then remained the same in 2009 and 2010. The reported average annual incidence rates were highest among children up to five years of age (2.3/100,000) and adults aged over 60 years (3.2/100,000). The most common risk factors associated with iGAS were skin lesions or wounds. Of the 174 people for whom clinical syndrome information was available, 28 (16%) cases presented with streptococcal toxic shock syndrome and 19 (11%) with necrotising fasciitis. Of the 141 cases for whom seven-day outcomes were recorded, 11 people died with iGAS identified as the main cause of death (seven-day case fatality rate 8%). The notification rate of iGAS in Ireland was lower than that reported in the United Kingdom, Nordic countries and North America but higher than southern and eastern European countries. The reasons for lower notification rates in Ireland compared with other countries may be due to a real difference in incidence, possibly due to prescribing practices, or due to artefacts resulting from the specific Irish case definition and/or low reporting in the early stages of a new surveillance system. iGAS disease remains an uncommon but potentially severe disease in Ireland. Ongoing surveillance is required in order to undertake appropriate control measures and gain a greater understanding of this disease.

Cotter M.,Beaumont Hospital | Donlon S.,Health Protection Surveillance Center | Roche F.,Health Protection Surveillance Center | Byrne H.,Health Protection Surveillance Center | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Hospital Infection | Year: 2012

Background: Prevalence of healthcare-associated infection (HCAI) and antimicrobial use in Irish long-term care facilities (LTCFs) has never been studied. Aim: To collect baseline data on HCAI prevalence and antibiotic use in Irish LTCFs to inform national LTCF policy and plan future HCAI prevention programmes. Methods: A prevalence study of HCAI and antibiotic use was undertaken in Irish LTCFs. Participation was voluntary. Data on HCAI risk factors, signs and symptoms of infection and antimicrobial use were collected prospectively on a single day in each institution. Findings: Sixty-nine Irish LTCFs participated and 4170 eligible residents were surveyed; 472 (11.3%) had signs/symptoms of infection (266, 6.4%) and/or were on antibiotics (426, 10.2%). A third of residents (1430, 34.3%) were aged ≥85 years and more than half disorientated (2110, 50.6%) with impaired mobility (2101, 50.4%). HCAI prevalence was 3.7% (range: 0-22.2%). The most common HCAI was urinary tract infection (UTI) (62 residents, 40% of HCAI). Presence of a urinary catheter was associated with UTI (P < 0.0000001). Antibiotics were prescribed for treatment (262 residents, 57.8%) and prophylaxis (182 residents, 40.2%) of infection. The most common indication for prophylaxis was UTI prevention (35.8% of total prescriptions). Fourteen (10.2%) residents on UTI prophylaxis had a urinary catheter. The most common indications for therapy included respiratory tract infections (35.1%), UTI (32.1%) and skin infection (21.8%). Conclusion: This study highlights the frequency of prophylactic antimicrobial prescribing and provides an important baseline to inform future preventive strategies. © 2012 The Healthcare Infection Society.

Mereckiene J.,Health Protection Surveillance Center
Euro surveillance : bulletin européen sur les maladies transmissibles = European communicable disease bulletin | Year: 2010

In 2009 the second cross-sectional web-based survey was undertaken by the Vaccine European New Integrated Collaboration Effort (VENICE) project across 27 European Union (EU) member states (MS), Norway and Iceland (n=29) to determine changes in official national seasonal influenza vaccination policies since a survey undertaken in 2008 and to compare the estimates of vaccination coverage between countries using data obtained from both surveys. Of 27 responding countries, all recommended vaccination against seasonal influenza to the older adult population. Six countries recommended vaccination of children aged between six months and <18 years old. Most countries recommended influenza vaccination for those individuals with chronic medical conditions. Recommendations for vaccination of healthcare workers (HCW) in various settings existed in most, but not all countries. Staff in hospitals and long-term care facilities were recommended vaccination in 23 countries, and staff in out-patient clinics in 22 countries. In the 2009 survey, the reported national estimates on vaccine coverage varied by country and risk group, ranging from 1.1% - 82.6% for the older adult population; to between 32.9% -71.7% for clinical risk groups; and from 13.4% -89.4% for HCW. Many countries that recommend the influenza vaccination do not monitor the coverage in risk groups. In 2008 and 2009 most countries recommended influenza vaccination for the main risk groups. However, despite general consensus and recommendations for vaccination of high risk groups, many countries do not achieve high coverage in these groups. The reported vaccination coverage still needs to be improved in order to achieve EU and World Health Organization goals.

Garvey P.,Health Protection Surveillance Center
Euro surveillance : bulletin Européen sur les maladies transmissibles = European communicable disease bulletin | Year: 2013

Salmonella Typhimurium DT8 was a very rare cause of human illness in Ireland between 2000 and 2008, with only four human isolates from three patients being identified. Over a 19-month period between August 2009 and February 2011, 34 confirmed cases and one probable case of Salmonella Typhimurium DT8 were detected, all of which had an MLVA pattern 2-10-NA-12-212 or a closely related pattern. The epidemiological investigations strongly supported a linkbetween illness and exposure to duck eggs. Moreover, S. Typhimurium with an MLVA pattern indistinguishable (or closely related) to the isolates from human cases, was identified in 22 commercial and backyard duck flocks, twelve of which were linked with known human cases. A range of control measures were taken at farm level, and advice was provided to consumers on the hygienic handling and cooking of duck eggs. Although no definitive link was established with a concurrent duck egg-related outbreak of S. Typhimurium DT8 in the United Kingdom, it seems likely that the two events were related. It may be appropriate for other countries with a tradition of consuming duck eggs to consider the need for measures to reduce the risk of similar outbreaks.

Mereckiene J.,Health Protection Surveillance Center
Euro surveillance : bulletin Européen sur les maladies transmissibles = European communicable disease bulletin | Year: 2014

Since 2008, annual surveys of influenza vaccination policies, practices and coverage have been undertaken in 29 European Union (EU)/ European Economic Area (EEA) countries. After 2009, this monitored the impact of European Council recommendation to increase vaccination coverage to 75% among risk groups. This paper summarises the results of three seasonal influenza seasons: 2008/09, 2009/10 and 2010/11. In 2008/09, 27/29 countries completed the survey; in 2009/10 and 2010/11, 28/29 completed it. All or almost all countries recommended vaccination of older people (defined as those aged ≥50, ≥55, ≥59, ≥60 or ≥65 years), and people aged ≥6 months with clinical risk and healthcare workers. A total of 23 countries provided vaccination coverage data for older people, but only 7 and 10 had data for the clinical risk groups and healthcare workers, respectively. The number of countries recommending vaccination for some or all pregnant women increased from 10 in 2008/09 to 22 in 2010/11. Only three countries could report coverage among pregnant women. Seasonal influenza vaccination coverage during and after the pandemic season in older people and clinical groups remained unchanged in countries with higher coverage. However, small decreases were seen in most countries during this period. The results of the surveys indicate that most EU/EEA countries recommend influenza vaccination for the main target groups; however, only a few countries have achieved the target of 75% coverage among risk groups. Coverage among healthcare workers remained low.

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