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.

Main points

Overall assessment:

  • The proportion of NHS24 calls for respiratory symptoms in week 28 was at Baseline activity level overall. The 5-14, 15-44, 45-64, 65-74 and over 75 age groups remained at Baseline activity level. The under 1 age group remained at Moderate activity level. The 1-4 age group decreased from Low to Baseline activity level. Activity levels remained at Baseline for all NHS Boards except Orkney where activity increased from Baseline to Low activity level.
  • In week 28, there were 36 influenza cases: 27 type A (subtype unknown), eight type A(H3) and one type B. This compares to 16 laboratory-confirmed cases reported during week 27. Influenza incidence remained at Baseline activity level.
  • In week 28, coronavirus (non-SARS-CoV-2), HMPV, rhinovirus and Mycoplasma pneumoniae were at Baseline activity level. RSV remained at Low activity level. Adenovirus and parainfluenza decreased from Low to Baseline activity level.
  • RSV activity remained at Low activity level in week 28. The number of laboratory-confirmed RSV cases for week 28 was 118, which is greater than what would be expected at this time of the year.
    • Half of all NHS Boards were at Low activity level.
    • The under 1, 1-4 and 5-14 age groups remained at Low activity level. The 75+ age group remained at Baseline activity level. The 65-74 age group increased from Baseline to Low activity level. The 15-44 and 45-64 age groups decreased from Low to Baseline activity level. The majority (82%) of RSV detections in week 28 were in those aged under 5 years and the majority (90%) of diagnoses across all age groups occurred in the hospital setting.
  • The hospitalisation rate for influenza was 0.3 per 100,000 in week 28, with the highest hospital admission rate for confirmed influenza noted in patients aged 75 years or older (0.6 per 100,000). The highest hospitalisation rate for influenza this season was reported in week 11 (1.3 per 100,000).

Background

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.

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.

This 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 (external website) for more details.

Further information

The next release of this publication will be 28 July 2022.

General enquiries

If you have an enquiry relating to this publication, please contact phs.flu@phs.scot.

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If you have a media enquiry relating to this publication, please contact the Communications and Engagement team.

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Older versions of this publication

Versions of this publication released before 16 March 2020 may be found on the Data and Intelligence, Health Protection Scotland or Improving Health websites.

Last updated: 07 October 2022
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