About this release
This release is a weekly report on epidemiological information on seasonal respiratory infection activity in Scotland. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, health care services are functioning differently now compared to previous flu seasons so the consultation rates are not directly comparable to historical data.
- Influenza activity was at Baseline level. There were 5 influenza cases: 4 type A (subtype unknown), one type A(H3). This compares with 26 influenza cases reported in week 52.
- Human metapneumovirus (HMPV), adenovirus and parainfluenza was at Low activity level.
- Coronavirus (non-SARS-CoV-2), rhinovirus, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and Mycoplasma pneumoniae were at Baseline activity level.
- The proportion of NHS24 calls for respiratory symptoms in week 1 remained at Moderate activity level overall. The 1-4 and over 74 age groups remained at Moderate activity level. The 15-44 and 65-74 age groups remained at High activity level. The 5-14 age group decreased from Moderate to Baseline activity level. The under 1 age group decreased from Extraordinary to High activity level. The 45-64 age group decreased from High to Moderate activity level.
- Influenza vaccine data are presented and indicate that at least 2,665,435 eligible individuals are estimated to have received their vaccine. On the 15th December 2021, the CMO recommended pausing the flu vaccination programme for the newly added 2021/22 cohorts to increase capacity to deliver COVID-19 booster vaccinations due to the emergence of the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2. Those considered to be most at risk are still able to access flu vaccination. The programme may recommence for others at some time in early 2022. For details please see NHS Inform: https://www.nhsinform.scot/flu-vaccine
Surveillance of respiratory infection is a key public health activity as it is associated with significant morbidity and mortality during the winter months, particularly in those at risk of complications of flu e.g. the elderly, those with chronic health problems and pregnant women.
The spectrum of respiratory illnesses vary from asymptomatic illness to mild/moderate symptoms to severe complications including death. In light of the spectrum of respiratory illness there is a need to have individual surveillance components which provide information on each aspect of the illnesses.
There is no single respiratory surveillance component that can describe the onset, severity and impact of influenza or the success of its control measures each season across a community.
To do so requires a number of complementary surveillance components which are either specific to respiratory infections or their control, or which are derived from data streams providing information of utility for other PHS specialities (corporate surveillance data). Together, the respiratory surveillance components provide a comprehensive and coherent picture on a timely basis throughout the flu season. Please see the influenza page on the HPS website for more details.
The next release of this publication will be 20 January 2022.
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