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.
- The proportion of NHS24 calls for respiratory symptoms in week 34 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 1-4 age group increased from Baseline to Low activity level. The under 1 age group increased from Low to Moderate activity level.
- There were 42 influenza cases: 35 type A (subtype unknown), one A(H1N1)pdm09, five A(H3) and one type B. This compares to 46 laboratory-confirmed cases reported during week 33. Influenza incidence remained at Baseline activity level overall. All age groups were at Baseline activity level.
- In week 34, RSV, coronavirus (non-SARS-CoV-2), HMPV, parainfluenza, rhinovirus and Mycoplasma pneumoniae remained at Baseline activity level. Adenovirus decreased from Low to Baseline activity level.
- RSV remained at Baseline activity level in week 34. The number of laboratory-confirmed RSV cases for week 34 was 85. This compares with 86 laboratory-confirmed cases in week 33. Although at Baseline activity level, RSV cases are greater than what would be expected at this time of the year.
- Eight NHS Boards were at Baseline, four were at Low and two (Orkney and Western Isles) were at Moderate activity level.
- The under 1, 45-64 and 75+ age groups remained at Baseline activity level. The 5-14 age group increased from Baseline to Low activity level. The 1-4, 15-44 and 65-74 age groups remained at Low activity level.
- The majority (68%) of RSV detections in week 34 were in those aged under 5 years and the majority (82%) of diagnoses across all age groups occurred in the hospital setting.
- The hospitalisation rate for influenza was 0.5 per 100,000 in week 34, with the highest hospital admission rate for confirmed influenza noted in patients aged 1-4 years old (1.9 per 100,000). The highest hospitalisation rate for influenza this season was reported in week 11 (1.3 per 100,000).
- The hospitalisation rate for RSV was 1.2 per 100,000 in week 34, with the highest hospital admission rate for confirmed RSV noted in patients aged less than 1 (39.1 per 100,000). The hospitalisation rate for RSV had peaked in week 38 and 39 in 2021 (4.5 per 100,000).
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.
The next release of this publication will be 8 September 2022.
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