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.

Main points

Overall assessment:

  • Influenza activity was at Baseline level. There were 18 influenza cases: one type A(H3), 15 type A (subtype unknown) and two type B. This compares with 13 influenza cases reported in week 46.
  • Human metapneumovirus (HMPV) was at High activity level.
  • Seasonal coronavirus (non-SARS-CoV-2) and rhinovirus were at Moderate activity level.
  • Adenovirus and human parainfluenza were at Low activity level.
  • Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and Mycoplasma pneumoniae were at Baseline activity level. 
  • The proportion of NHS24 calls for respiratory symptoms in week 47 remained at Moderate activity level overall. The over 74 age group increased from Baseline to Moderate activity level. The 5-14, 15-44, 45-64 and 65-74 age groups remained at Moderate activity level. The 1-4 age group remained at High activity level. The under 1 age group decreased from High to Moderate activity level.
  • Influenza vaccine data are presented and indicate that at least 2,174,561 eligible individuals are estimated to have received their vaccine.

Background

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.

Further information

The next release of this publication will be 9 December 2021.

General enquiries

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

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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: 01 December 2021
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