About this release
This release is a weekly report on epidemiological information on seasonal influenza 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 10 influenza cases: two type A (subtype unknown) and eight type B. This compares with 17 influenza cases reported in week 43.
- Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) remained at Baseline The large majority of RSV detections thus far have been in those aged under 5 years. The typical RSV season usually peaks between week 49 and week 52. However, in 2021, week on week increases in laboratory-confirmed diagnoses for RSV were reported between week 23 and week 40. Cases have declined over consecutive weeks since the peak in week 40.
- Coronavirus (non-SARS-CoV-2) remained at Moderate activity level.
- Rhinovirus increased to Moderate activity level.
- Human metapneumovirus (HMPV) and parainfluenza were at Low activity level.
- The proportion of NHS24 calls for respiratory symptoms in week 44 increased from Low to Moderate activity level overall. The over 74 age group decreased from Low to Baseline activity level. The 65-74 age group remained at Low activity level and the 45-64 age group decreased from Moderate to Low activity level. The 15-44 age group increased from Low to Moderate activity level. The 5-14 age group increased from Baseline to Moderate activity level and the 1-4 age group remained at Moderate activity level. The under 1 increased from Low to Moderate activity level.
- Influenza vaccine data are presented for the first nine weeks of the programme and indicate an estimated 1,451,857 eligible individuals have received their vaccine.
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 18 November 2021.
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