The latest Swine Flu pandemic has claimed its first victim in Laois.
A Ballyroan man passed away in the Mater Hospital, Dublin, last week from the deadly virus. He is understood to have been sick since before Christmas. He passed away in the Dublin hospital on Monday, January 17. He is survived by his wife and daughter, parents and sister.
The deceased was laid to rest in SS Peter and Paul's Cemetery, Portlaoise, last Friday following Funeral Mass at the Community Centre, Ballyroan.
The HSE declined to comment on whether the deceased had been a patient in Portlaoise before he was transferred to Dublin.
The HSE outlined that the flu virus is mainly affecting young adults this year. Those with pre-existing medical conditions and women who are pregnant or have been pregnant in the last six to eight weeks are also particularly at risk.
They are encouraging people who are at risk to get the flu vaccine. This includes people with long term health conditions, people aged 65 and over, carers of these groups, and healthcare workers, and pregnant women.
Meanwhile, visitor restrictions remain in place at the Midland Regional Hospital, Portlaoise.
The HSE are asking people with flu like symptoms, or who have had recent household contact with individuals with flu, not to visit hospitals to minimise the risk of seasonal influenza and H1N1.
People are asked not to visit the hospital unless it is absolutely essential. Visiting critically ill patients is restricted to one visitor per patient and confined to visiting times only. Only parents are permitted to visit the Paediatric Wards, and only partners are permitted to visit the Maternity Wards.
The elderly, children, pregnant women or young adults, those with chronic illnesses and vulnerable others are advised not to visit.
Outpatient, day care services and routine hospital admissions are not affected.
Indications in recent days suggest that this bout of swine flu is waning.