About this release
This release is a weekly report on epidemiological information on seasonal influenza activity in Scotland. Due to COVID health care services are functioning differently now compared to previous flu seasons so the consultation rates are not directly comparable to historical data.
- The rate of influenza-like illness (ILI) was at Baseline activity level (0.3 per 100,000).
- The swab positivity of influenza was at Baseline activity level (0.04%, 1/2374).
- The incidence rate of influenza was at Baseline activity level (0.02 per 100,000 population).
- There was one influenza case detected this week, which was influenza type A (H3). The low numbers of influenza may be related to current restrictions and an increased uptake of flu vaccine; however, data are provisional and may be subject to change.
- The proportion of NHS24 calls for respiratory symptoms remained at Baseline activity level.
- Rhinovirus (1.9-<3.9 per 100,000 population) and parainfluenza (0.5 <1.2 per 100,000 population) were at Low activity level; whereas all other non-flu pathogens remained at Baseline activity level.
- Influenza vaccine uptake up to end of week 15 in Scotland in most eligible cohorts was higher than in previous seasons, although the data are not directly comparable.
Surveillance of influenza 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 influenza illness varies from asymptomatic illness to mild/moderate symptoms to severe complications including death. In light of the spectrum of influenza illness there is a need to have individual surveillance components which provide information on each aspect of the illness.
There is no single flu 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 influenza or its control, or which are derived from data streams providing information of utility for other PHS specialities (corporate surveillance data). Together, the influenza 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 26 May 2021.
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