Eight more people die with flu
A deadly flu outbreak has claimed another eight lives across Ireland while dozens more patients remain critically ill, health chiefs have said.
But the number of new cases has now peaked and is beginning to decline, according to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC).
Five of the latest deaths in the Republic were from swine flu while one other was from influenza B. In the North, two people died of swine flu last week.
This brings to 35 the total number of flu-related deaths so far on both sides of the border this winter.
Ten victims died from swine flu and two from influenza B in the Republic while 23 deaths in the North were from swine flu.
Most victims had underlying health conditions such as chronic respiratory disease, chronic heart disease, immunosuppression, metabolic disorders and morbid obesity, or were pregnant.
The HPSC said more deaths are expected to be reported in the coming weeks as the cases are identified in death certificates yet to be issued by coroners.
In the Republic, the drop in reported flu-like illnesses was recorded in all age groups except for children aged between 5 and 14.
There were 749 people treated in hospital for influenza already this winter, with more than seven in 10 cases from swine flu.
Just under 100 were treated in intensive care units, where 43 are still fighting for their lives.