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Communicable Diseases


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COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Pandemic

A virus that has not previously been seen in humans was identified in Wuhan, China in December 2019.  The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30 January 2020.

In February 2020, the WHO officially named this new Coronavirus ‘COVID-19’.  This type of Coronavirus is also known as SARS-CoV-2.  The WHO data on confirmed cases of COVID-19 around the world show there are approximately 6.9 million cases and around 400,500 deaths due to COVID-19, to date (8th June, 2020). 

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that circulate among animals including camels, cats and bats.  They can be spread from animals to humans.  Coronaviruses cause illness in humans ranging from the common cold to more severe respiratory (lung) diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

The first cases of the new virus were identified in people working in a seafood and live animal market in Wuhan, China.  It is thought that humans picked up the virus from animals at the market. 

COVID-19 in Ireland

Ireland's first case of COVID-19 was confirmed on 29 February, 2020.  As of the 8th June, 2020 there were 25,207 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 1,683 deaths due to COVID-19 in Ireland.  Here is a link to the daily reports by the Health Surveillance Protection Centre (HSPC) for the most recent COVID-19 data.

Ireland has advanced plans in place as part of its comprehensive preparedness to deal with public health emergencies such as COVID-19.  These plans have helped Ireland to respond to previous incidents such as Pandemic Influenza, SARS and MERS.  Ireland's response to COVID-19 is detailed on the Government's official website GOV.IE  

Most people who fall sick with COVID-19 will experience mild to moderate symptoms and recover without special treatment.  According to the Health Services Executive (HSE) the virus that causes COVID-19 is mainly transmitted through droplets generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes or exhales.  These droplets are too heavy to hang in the air, and quickly fall on floors or surfaces.  

You can be infected by breathing in the virus if you are within close proximity of someone who has COVID-19, or by touching a contaminated surface and then transferring the virus by touching your eyes, nose or mouth.  It can take up to 14 days for symptoms of COVID-19 to appear.  They can be similar to the symptoms of cold and flu and include a fever, a cough or shortness of breath.  

Covid-19 Data Hub

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) in collaboration with Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSI), the Department of Housing, Planning & Local Government (DHPLG) and the All Island Research Observatory (AIRO) in Maynooth University, along with Esri Ireland as technical partners, rapidly developed a National Covid-19 Data Hub on the GeoHive platform.  GeoHive was identified as the States geospatial data platform in the Public Service Data Strategy 2019 – 2023.

For this particular action this work has been designated as the GeoHive COVID-19 Response Coordination Group, (GH-COVID-19-RCG).  The Group is part of the Irish Epidemiological Modelling Action Group (IEMAG).  The Office of the Chief Medical Officer (CMO), has formed the IEMAG, to monitor and model the outbreak of COVID-19 in Ireland.  The IEMAG report directly to the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET).

The National COVID-19 project partners use best practice methodologies and governance structures to ensure the appropriate overall management of the project and its data.  The Portal providing open access to up-to-date data on COVID-19 in Ireland, including datasets in linked-open-data format and visualisations, as well as other relevant information resources is available at DATA.GOV.IE/Blog, and all information is available at DATA.GOV.IE

The CSO has produced tables to provide summary information on the people who have died from COVID-19  or have been diagnosed with the virus.

For up to date statistics on the number of cases and deaths please see COVID-19 DASHBOARD.

COVID-19 Statistics

As of 31st May, 2020 the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases notified by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) was 25,056.  Dublin had the highest number of notified COVID-19 cases, with 12,090 cases, almost half of all cases (48.3%).  Cork and Kildare had the highest number of notified cases after Dublin, with 1,517 (6.1%) and 1,419 (5.7%) cases, respectively.  Leitrim and Sligo had the lowest number of notified cases with 83 (0.3%) and 129 (0.5%) cases, respectively.  See Table 2.1 and Map 2.1.

Table 2.1 - Number of Confirmed COVID-19 Cases, Percent and Incidence Rate by County Notified to Midnight May 31st, 2020

Notified confirmed COVID-19 cases up to 31st May, 2020, show a national cumulative incidence rate of 526.2 per 100,000 population.  The counties with the highest incidence rate were Cavan at 1,108.0 per 100,000 population, followed by Dublin and Monaghan with rates of 897.3 and 834.1 per 100,000 population, respectively.  The counties with the lowest incidence rate were Waterford and Wexford with rates of 131.7 and 142.3 per 100,000 population, respectively.  See Table 2.1 above and Map 2.2 below.

As of 31st May, 2020 there were 25,056 confirmed cases of COVID-19 notified in Ireland.  More women than men tested positive for COVID-19, with women accounting for 57.2% and men accounting for 42.7% of confirmed cases.  The median age of people confirmed with COVID-19 was 48 years old.  See Figure 2.1.

As of 31st May, 2020 there were 1,654 confirmed deaths from COVID-19 notified in Ireland.  Deaths from COVID-19 among women and men were similar - women accounted for 50.6% and men accounted for 49.4% of deaths.  The median age of notified COVID-19 deaths was 84 years old.  See Figure 2.1.

X-axis labelMedian Age (years)Mean Age (years)Male %Female %
COVID-19 Cases485142.757.1982213519357
COVID-19 Deaths848249.450.6

In the HPSC Epidemiology of COVID-19 in Ireland Report the number of persons hospitalised was 3,292, accounting for 13.1% of notified COVID-19 cases up to 31st May, 2020.  A total of 692 COVID-19 deaths were hospitalised, representing 41.8% of notified deaths in this period.  Health care workers represented 31.9% (7,968 persons) of notified cases and 0.4% (7 persons) of COVID-19 deaths.

COVID-19 cases admitted to Intensive Care Unit (ICU) accounted for 1.6% (408 persons) of notified cases.  A  total of 83 deaths (5%) were persons admitted to ICU.

People with an underlying clinical condition accounted for 1,490 of notified COVID-19 deaths, representing 90.1% of notified deaths up to 31st May 2020.  See Table 2.2.

Table 2.2 - Confirmed COVID-19 Cases and Deaths, Notified up to Midnight 31 May, 2020

People aged under 45 years old accounted for 43% of cases and 57% of cases were 45 years or older,  See Figure 2.2.

Over nine tenths (93.5%) of notified deaths were people aged 65 years or older, while people aged under 65 years accounted for 6.5% of deaths.  Four fifths of deaths (79.9%) were people aged 75 years and older.  See Figure 2.3.

COVID-19COVID-19 CasesCOVID-19 Deaths
0-24 yrs9.20
25-34 yrs16.80
35-44 yrs17.610.67
45-54 yrs17.961.52
55-64 yrs12.823.88
65-74 yrs7.1213.58
75-84 yrs9.0633.94
85+ yrs9.3545.88
COVID-19 Deaths by age Group
Under 65 yrs6.5
65-74 years13.58
75+ years79.94

The CSO publishes a weekly profile of COVID-19 confirmed cases and deaths. The most recent report includes data as of 3rd June 2020 for events created on Computerised Infectious Disease Reporting (CIDR) up to midnight Friday 29th May, 2020 and is subject to revision.  See Table 2.3.

COVID-19 confirmed cases notified in the three month period from 29th February up to the 29th May, 2020 showed the peak of reported cases in the week ending 17th April.  This peak week reported 6,049 cases, around a quarter (24.3%) of all cases reported in this three month period.  Approximately three quarters (75.9%) of cases were reported around the month of April (weeks ending 3rd April to 1st May).  See Table 2.3 and Figure 2.4.

COVID-19 deaths notified in the three month period from 29th February up to the 29th May, 2020 showed the peak of reported deaths in the week ending 17th April.  This peak week reported 270 deaths, around a fifth (19.4%) of all deaths in this three month period.  Approximately three quarters (75.5%) of deaths were reported around the month of April (weeks ending 3rd April to 1st May).  See Table 2.3 and Figure 2.4.

Table 2.3 - Weekly Profile of COVID-19 Confirmed Deaths and Cases

Week Ending:COVID-19 CasesCOVID-19 Deaths

COVID-19 mortality and confirmed incidence standardised rates (per 100,000 of population) as of 21st May, 2020 are shown in Table 2.4.  The COVID-19 mortality rate was 29 per 100,000 population, and was higher for males than females (30 and 27 per 100,000 population, respectively).  Confirmed incidence rates of COVID-19 was 532 per 100,000 population.  The incidence rate was higher for females than males, with values of 603 and 459 per 100,000 population, respectively.

Dublin (county and city) had the highest COVID-19 mortality rate of 57 per 100,000 population.  Confirmed incidence rates were also highest in the Dublin region at 940 per 100,000 population.  The South-East and South-West were the regions with the lowest COVID-19 mortality and incidence rates.  Both these regions had incidence rates of 198 and 245 per 100,000 population, respectively; and a mortality rate of 8 per 100,000 population.

People with a disability showed a higher Covid-19 incidence rate and mortality rate (530 and 41 per 100,000 population, respectively) compared to those with no disability (499 and 23 per 100,000 population, respectively).  See Map 2.3 and Table 2.4.

Table 2.4 - COVID-19 Mortality and Confirmed Incident Standardised Rates (per 100,000 of Population) as of May 21st, 2020

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SDG 3.3.1 Number of New HIV Infections was published by the HSE, HPSC in their Annual Epidemiological Report.  

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a virus that attacks cells that help the body fight infection, making a person more vulnerable to other infections and diseases. 
There were 523 people diagnosed with HIV in Ireland 2018.  Just over seven in ten of these people lived in the East region, based on the HSE area of residence.  Less than 2% of people who were diagnosed with HIV lived in the Midland or North-West regions.  See Table 2.5 and Figure 2.5.
2.5 - SDG 3.3.1 HIV Diagnoses by Region

SDG 3.3.1 HIV Diagnoses in Ireland, 2018

Nearly eight in ten of the 523 people diagnosed with HIV in 2018 were male.  The median age of the adults with a HIV diagnosis in 2018 was 35 years.  The probable route of transmission for more than half (56%) of those with a HIV diagnosis was sex between men while heterosexual sex accounted for 30.8%.  Just over seven in ten of those with a HIV diagnosis during 2018 were born outside Ireland.  See Table 2.6 and Figure 2.6.

2.6 - SDG 3.3.1 Summary of HIV Diagnoses

SDG 3.3.1 HIV Diagnoses in Ireland by Gender, 2018

The number of people living with HIV rose from 4,787 in 2010 to 7,529 in 2019, an increase of 57%.  The number of deaths from AIDS dropped from 21 in 2011 to 14 by 2019.  See Table 2.7.

2.7 - SDG 3.3.1 Estimated Number of People Living With HIV and AIDS Deaths

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SDG 3.3.2  Tuberculosis Incidence was published by the HSE, HPSC in their Annual Tuberculosis Epidemiological Report.

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease usually caused by Mycobacterium Tuberculosis (MTB) Bacteria.  TB is a preventable and curable disease that generally affects the lungs, but can also affect other parts of the body including the glands, the bones and rarely the brain.  Most infections show no symptoms, in which case it is known as latent tuberculosis. 
There were 267 TB notifications in Ireland in 2019.  Four in ten of these TB notifications were in the East region, (based on the HSE Area of Residence), while two in ten were in the South-East.  See Table 2.8 and Figure 2.7.
2.8 - SDG 3.3.2 Number and Proportion of TB Notifications by Region

SDG 3.3.2 Number of TB Notifications in Ireland, 2019

The number of TB cases notified in Ireland dropped from 420 in 2010 to 267 in 2019.  The population of Ireland rose between 2010 and 2019.  Therefore the rate of TB cases notified per 100,000 population also dropped, falling from 9.2 to 5.6.  See Table 2.9.

2.9 - SDG 3.3.2 Notified Cases of TB

About 41% of those with a notified case of TB in Ireland in 2019 were aged between 25-44 years while 24% were aged 65 years or over.  Very few children aged under 15 years had a notified case of TB.  Only 10 children aged under 10 years had a notified case of TB in 2019 while there were no cases for children aged 10-14 years.  See Table 2.10.

2.10 -SDG 3.3.2 Notified Cases of TB in Ireland by Age Group and Gender

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SDG 3.3.3 Malaria Incidence was published by the HSE, HPSC in their Malaria in Ireland, 2018 Report.

Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease caused by a parasite that commonly infects a certain type of mosquito which feeds on humans.  People who get malaria are typically very sick with high fevers, shaking chills and flu-like illness.
There were 81 cases of malaria in 2019.  Between 2010 and 2019 the number of cases of malaria ranged from a high of 88 in 2016 to a low of just 59 in 2018.  Just over a quarter of malaria cases were aged 35-44 years in 2016, with just under a quarter aged 25-34 years.  See Table 2.11 and Figure 2.8.
2.11 - SDG 3.3.3 Malaria Incidence by Age Group

YearNo. Incidence

There were 81 cases of malaria in Ireland in 2019, equivalent to a rate of 1.7 per 100,000 population.  About two-thirds of those with malaria were male between 2011 and 2018.  See Table 2.12.

2.12 - SDG 3.3.3 Malaria Incidence by Rate and Gender

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SDG 3.3.4 Hepatitis B Incidence was published by the HSE, HPSC in their Hepatitis B in Ireland Report.

Hepatitis B is a viral infection that infects the liver.  Hepatitis B is a major cause of serious liver disease such as cirrhosis and liver cancer, and affects millions of people worldwide.  In most people, a full course of vaccination prevents infection.
The number of cases of Hepatitis B in Ireland dropped from 639 to 546 between 2010 and 2019.  The rate of Hepatitis B in Ireland per 100,000 population dropped from 13.9 to 10.4 between 2010 and 2018.  The highest rate of Hepatitis B over this time period was in the East region, based on the classification by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC).  In 2017, the rate of Hepatitis B per 100,000 population in the East was 20.1 compared with just 1.6 in the North-West.  See Table 2.13 and Figure 2.9.
2.13 - SDG 3.3.4 Hepatitis B Incidence by Region and Rate

SDG 3.3.4 Hepatitis B Incidence by Region, 2017
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SDG 3.3.5 Number of People Requiring Interventions Against Neglected Tropical Diseases was published by the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD).  These data are classified as Tier 2 in the Tier Classification for Global SDG Indicators (See Background Notes), as they are not regularly produced by countries.

Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) are a diverse group of communicable diseases that prevail in tropical and subtropical conditions and affect more than one billion people and cost developing economies billions of dollars every year.  Populations living in poverty, without adequate sanitation and in close contact with infectious vectors and domestic animals and livestock are those worst affected.

In each year between 2010 and 2015 there was either one case or zero cases of people in Ireland requiring interventions against a neglected tropical disease.  

In 2016, there were 20 people in Ireland who required an intervention against a neglected tropical diseases.  This number dropped to 10 in 2017 and to zero in 2018.  See Table 2.14.

2.14 - SDG 3.3.5 Number of People Requiring Interventions Against Neglected Tropical Diseases

Go to next chapter: Premature Mortality