Irish authorities have announced the first deaths from “Australian flu” as the virus takes hold in the northern hemisphere, after causing the worst flu season for a decade in Australia.
MMA champion and global star Conor McGregor was among those affected by the “Aussie flu”, officially known as H3N2, with experts saying the current strain appears to be particularly resistant to vaccines.
McGregor wrote on Instagram that he had been struck down by the virus during the New year, which he said had left him “shaking” in bed for two days.
McGregor later deleted the post, which accompanied a picture of himself with his son on a bed, without explanation.
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“Well that was a wild New Year’s Eve. Half the family hit with the Australian flu virus and some even left in hospital with it,” he said in the post, as widely reported in the media.
“Big New Year’s Eve party cancelled at the last minute and I am left shaking in bed the past two days.”
Irish Health and Service Executive (HSE) issued a warning that the Aussie flu had arrived in Ireland; something which health services in the northern hemisphere have been anticipating for months.
Dr. Kevin Kelleher, director of the HSE’s surveillance centre said: “The HSE has in the last fortnight also been notified of a small number of deaths directly related to influenza (less than 10).”
“These indicators tell us that flu is actively starting to circulate in the community, yet it’s not too late for people at risk to get the vaccine from their GP or Pharmacist.”
The H3N2 strain is behind the biggest flu epidemic in a decade to swept through Australia as the southern hemisphere went through its winter.
Confusingly, although the strain has been dubbed “Aussie flu” the epidemic is thought to have in fact originated in the northern hemisphere.
Speaking to RTÉ Radio 1’s Morning Ireland, Kelleher said some people are more at risk of “Aussie flu” than others and that the symptoms can affect people very quickly, reported the Independent.
“I’m not sure if the Australian flu is the Irish flu because they got it from us, or it’s the Australian flu because we got it from them, but we know it’s that virus,” he said.
“The flu, generally speaking, really hits you very hard.”
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In his deleted comments on social media, McGregor said that he wanted to leave the bad experience of the flu behind him. Other posts of him enjoying the festive period with his family remain on his Instagram account.
“I’ll leave that with the rest of the bad behind me in 2017 and take with me the many great experiences I’ve had this year!,” wrote McGregor. “None greater than the birth of my son Conor Jr and the continued support of my family, my friends and my dedicated staff through thick and thin.”