A number of  Ayr nursing home residents have died after contracting a deadly flu virus.

The Glenfairn House care home on Racecourse Road was closed to further admissions following the tragic outbreak last month.  

The NHS public health team were called in after some residents started to suffer respiratory problems on September 9 and samples were taken.  Glenfairn is home to up to 75 people.

Lynne McNiven, director of public health at NHS Ayrshire & Arran said: “Some of those residents with respiratory symptoms were confirmed as having influenza. Sadly a small number of residents with influenza required hospital treatment and or died.

“During the outbreak, which is now over, the care home fully cooperated with our Public Health Team as part of the management of the outbreak. Care home staff followed infection control procedures in line with the national guidance on preventing and controlling cases of influenza in care homes. We also provided further support and guidance to the home.”

Older people with dementia and other conditions are cared for at privately owned Glenfairn House. Those aged over 65 are particularly vulnerable to flu risks.  Glenfair House would not comment on the outbreak or to reveal how many of its residents had died. They referred calls to the NHS.

Visitors and GP practices serving the care home, Health Protection Scotland and the Scottish Government were told of the respiratory outbreak.

NHS Ayrshire & Arran did not confirm how many people had lost their lives as a result of the outbreak after being asked by The Ayrshire Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Health bosses are urging everyone who is eligible  in Ayrshire to get the flu vaccination this winter.  There are fears an epidemic could sweep across the UK after Australia was hit by high numbers of infections this year.  NHS Ayrshire & Arran chair Martin Cheyne told a board meeting last week the levels of the virus down under could serve as an indicator for what can be expected in Scotland.  But the latest report from Health Protection Scotland showed “that very little flu is circulating at the moment in Scotland.”   Ms McNiven added: “Flu is a common infection from which most people will recover without any treatment. However, people aged over 65, pregnant women or those with health conditions are at greater risk from the effects of flu (influenza).”

To reduce the risk of spreading flu the NHS recommend getting vaccinated annually, washing hands often with warm water and soap, using tissues to trap germs when you cough or sneeze and binning used tissues as soon as possible.