Influenza Surveillance data is collected all year round by the Public Health Agency in collaboration with the Northern Ireland Regional Virus Laboratory, local GP practices, and a number of other relevant local agencies who kindly provide data to the influenza surveillance department.
Autumn marks the official start of the seasonal flu vaccination programme for 2016/2017, so the Public Health Agency (PHA) is urging people to ensure that all eligible family members get the free flu vaccine when offered it.
The vaccine changes each year to cover the strains which are likely to be prevalent over the course of the flu season, so it is important to get immunised annually.
The Public Health Agency (PHA) is again reminding people in “at risk” groups and others who are eligible, to get the winter flu vaccine, with a warning about the deadly dangers associated with catching the flu.
As in previous years, influenza H1N1 (often known as "swine flu") is one of the strains of flu circulating this flu season, but it is covered by the free vaccine which is being offered.