Ireland could be about to face the 'worst flu season on record'
Irish hospitals are being warned to get ready for a potentially busy flu season.
It follows a "heavy" outbreak of the H3N2 virus in Australia and New Zealand - with both countries currently recovering from their worst outbreaks on record.
The number of patients needing hospital treatment in these areas doubled compared to last year.
And now emergency medical consultant Dr Fergal Hickey warned that Ireland could also be facing the same strain of the virus as early as the end of 2017.
A spokesperson for the HSE confirmed to Her.ie that the flu vaccine this season will protect against three strains of the virus, including the H3N2-like one.
They said: "This year's seasonal flu vaccine contains protection against 3 strains of flu virus recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the strains most likely to be circulating this season."
"The three strains are: an A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1)pdm09-like strain, an A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 (H3N2)-like strain, a B/Brisbane/60/2008-like strain."