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.
- All data sources including ECOSS (Electronic Communication of Surveillance in Scotland) and GP consultations for influenza-like illness (ILI) indicate that the influenza activity in Scotland is at Baseline activity level in week 32.
- The low numbers of influenza may be related to current SARS-CoV-2 interventions combined with the traditional low transmission of influenza during the summer months. However, data are provisional and may be subject to change.
- The proportion of total NHS24 calls for respiratory symptoms remained at Baseline (<16.8%) activity level. NHS24 calls for respiratory symptoms are highest for those aged 1-4 years and the activity level remained at Low. NHS24 calls in the <1-year age group increased to Low, while all other age groups remained at Baseline activity level.
- Parainfluenza diagnoses remained at Baseline activity level. This is following an increase to Extraordinary activity observed between weeks 20 and 26. All other non-flu pathogens including Respiratory Syncytial Virus were at Baseline activity level.
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 (external website) for more details.
The next release of this publication will be 25 August 2021.
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