About this release

This weekly release by Public Health Scotland presents epidemiological information on respiratory infection activity, including COVID-19, across Scotland. Due to the dynamic nature of all datasets included in this report, figures contained within each update may be subject to change in future releases. Any revised figures will then be reflected within the latest update.

Main points

Overall assessment 8 January to 14 January (ISO week 2):

  • Measures of respiratory symptoms in the community via calls to NHS24 and attendances at GP consultations (GP ILI) were at Baseline activity levels during the reporting period.
  • In the CARI community surveillance system, swab positivity for Influenza A increased from 16.2% in week 1 to 18.5% in week 2. Mycoplasma pneumoniae had a swab positivity of 14.4% in week 2, which was an increase from the previous week’s 10.5%. Rhinovirus, previously the most commonly detected pathogen this season, showed a further decrease in swab positivity, dropping from 11.6% in week 1 to 8.2% in week 2.
  • Virology data showed influenza decreased to Moderate activity level in week 2. Moderate or High activity levels were observed among most age groups. Swab positivity for influenza was 12.8% in week 2 compared to 13.4% in week 1. RSV remained at Low activity level and Mycoplasma pneumoniae was at Moderate activity level.
  • Emergency hospital admissions because of influenza continued to decrease from 381 to 234, for RSV from 143 to 51, and for COVID-19, from 351 to 274. ICU/HDU admissions decreased for influenza, RSV and COVID-19.
  • All-cause excess mortality for week 51 (week ending 24 December 2023, the latest week not impacted by reporting delays) increased to Low activity levels overall, and to Moderate activity level for the 15-64 age group.
  • In winter 2023/24, Scotland administered 1,642,928 influenza (Adult 18+), 534,375 influenza (Children 6 months to 17 years), and 1,384,426 COVID-19 vaccines since September 4, 2023. Among adults 65+, 79.64 received influenza, and 78.8% received COVID-19 vaccines by week 2. Uptake is lower for influenza and COVID-19 vaccines compared to winter 2022/23.


Tracking infectious respiratory diseases, including COVID-19 and influenza, is essential, especially in the winter when the disease burden can be highest. In Scotland, respiratory infection and associated morbidity are monitored using enhanced surveillance. This approach combines data from microbiological sampling and laboratory test results from community and hospital settings with data from syndromic surveillance of NHS 24 calls, primary care consultations for respiratory symptoms, hospital (including intensive care) admissions and other settings.

The intelligence generated from surveillance of laboratory, syndromic and community settings provide a comprehensive picture of current respiratory illness in Scotland. The data presented in this report provide a comprehensive and timely epidemiological picture that is essential for understanding transmission of infection and supporting patient care and NHS service planning and policy.

Seasonality patterns / seasonal variations

Respiratory illnesses are associated with seasonal increase in the autumn and winter. Seasonality patterns for both influenza viruses and non-influenza respiratory pathogens have been established through many years of surveillance data. Most influenza and non-influenza pathogens circulate in the autumn and winter in Scotland, although some are known to circulate in the spring and summer. Notably, COVID-19 transmission has been occurring in waves throughout the year as observed from surveillance data since the start of the pandemic in 2020.

Further information

The next release will be on 25 January 2024.

Find out more

Previous Publications

Versions of the Weekly national respiratory report publication released before 30 November 2022 may be found on the Public Health Scotland website.

Versions of the COVID-19 weekly statistical report publication released before 30 November 2022 may be found on the Public Health Scotland website.

Open data

Open data from this publication is available from the following weblinks:

Further data

  • The COVID-19 Vaccine Wastage datafile was updated on 18 April 2024 to include the most recent information.
  • The COVID-19 in Adult Care Homes in Scotland datafile was updated on 27 July 2023 to include more recent information.
  • 28 September 2022 COVID-19 statistical report publication contains information on COVID-19 infection and vaccination in pregnancy in Scotland.
  • 2 March 2022 COVID-19 statistical report publication contains information on Highest Risk (shielding patients list)
  • 7 November 2023 Community Acute Respiratory Infection (CARI) surveillance in primary care contains information on flu Vaccine effectiveness in community settings.
  • 25 May 2023 Interim 2022/23 influenza vaccine effectiveness: six European studies, October 2022 to January 2023, contains information on flu Vaccine effectiveness in hospital settings.
  • 13 January 2024 Estimated number of lives directly saved by COVID-19 vaccination programs in the WHO European Region, December 2020 to March 2023, contains information on lives saved due to COVID-19 vaccination

General enquiries

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

Media enquiries

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

Requesting other formats and reporting issues

If you require publications or documents in other formats, please email phs.otherformats@phs.scot.

To report any issues with a publication, please email phs.generalpublications@phs.scot.

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: 21 March 2024
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