About this release

This weekly release by Public Health Scotland presents epidemiological information on respiratory infection activity, including COVID-19, across Scotland.

As part of our continuous review of reporting, over the comings months Public Health Scotland will be implementing some changes to present a consolidated weekly respiratory publication.

Main points

Weekly respiratory main points

  • The proportion of NHS24 calls for respiratory symptoms remained at Moderate activity level overall.
  • Influenza incidence increased from High to Extraordinary activity level
    • There were 1,358 influenza cases: 1,130 type A (subtype unknown), 161 A(H3), 52 A(H1N1)pdm09 and 15 type B.
  • Mycoplasma pneumoniae remained at Baseline activity level. Parainfluenza decreased from Low to Baseline activity level.
  • Adenovirus, HMPV and rhinovirus decreased from Moderate to Low activity level.
  • Seasonal coronavirus (non-SARS-CoV-2) remained at Moderate activity level.
  • RSV deceased from Moderate to Low activity level. The number of laboratory-confirmed RSV cases was 246. This compares with 321 laboratory-confirmed cases in week 49.
    • RSV by NHS Board: two were at Baseline, seven were at Low, four were at Moderate and one (Dumfries & Galloway) was at High activity level.
    • RSV by age group: The under 1 and 1-4 age groups remained at Low activity level. The 5-14 and 15-44 age groups decreased from Extraordinary to Moderate activity level. The 45-64 and 65-74 age groups decreased from High to Moderate activity level. The over 75 age group remained at High activity level.
    • The highest number (36.4%) of RSV detections in week 50 were in those aged under 5 years, followed by those aged 75 and over (27.1%). In recent weeks, there have been increases in the incidence rate among the age groups over 5 years.
  • The hospitalisation rate for influenza has been generally increasing since week 25 and was 7.5 per 100,000 in week 49, with the highest hospital admission rate for confirmed influenza noted in patients aged less than one year old (32.9 per 100,000). The number of hospitalised patients reported who have tested positive for influenza so far this season is higher than previous seasons (since 2017).
  • The hospitalisation rate for RSV was 2.9 per 100,000 in week 49, with the highest hospital admission rate for confirmed RSV noted in patients aged less than one year old (86.4 per 100,000). The hospitalisation rate for RSV peaked in week 38 and 39 in 2021 (4.5 per 100,000).
  • In the Community Acute Respiratory Infection (CARI) sentinel surveillance system carried out at general practices across Scotland, rhinovirus has been the highest circulating pathogen since the start of the season and has the highest swab positivity in week 50, followed by RSV in many of the weeks, and influenza A since week 40. Human metapneumovirus (HMPV) has also increased from previous week.
    • NB: There has been an ongoing delay in getting complete test results for all CARI samples, caused by a technical issue at the lab on 06/12/2022. This has led to a backlog. Royal Mail industrial action is also causing delays in receipt of samples. Results for the most recent weeks should therefore be interpreted with caution as further samples are still expected and any retrospective changes in swab positivity will be reported on next week.
  • Influenza vaccine data for the 2022/23 winter programme are now available on the PHS flu and COVID winter vaccination dashboard. These data indicate that at the end of week 50, an estimated total of 2,475,611 individuals have received their vaccine. This includes 1,902,233 eligible adults of whom 959,719 are aged 65 years and over. In addition, 90.2% of those receiving their COVID winter booster and eligible for flu vaccine have received both vaccines at the same appointment.
  • All-cause excess mortality (of which a yet unknown proportion will be due to an infectious respiratory cause) for week 47 remained at Baseline activity level overall, and for all age categories.

COVID weekly main points

  • In Scotland, in the week ending 05 December 2022, the estimated number of people testing positive for COVID-19 was 100,700 (95% credible interval: 81,300 to 121,800), equating to 1.91% of the population, or around 1 in 50 people (Source: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey, UK - Office for National Statistics)
  • In the week ending 11 December 2022, there were 40 deaths involving COVID-19 (1 fewer than the previous week) (Source: National Records of Scotland)
  • In the week ending 18 December 2022, there were on average 872 patients in hospital with COVID-19, a 18.6% increase from the previous week ending 11 December 2022 (735)
  • In the week ending 18 December 2022 there were 13 new admissions to Intensive Care Units (ICUs) with a laboratory confirmed test of COVID-19, an increase of 4 from the previous week (11 December 2022)
  • By week ending 18 December 2022 of the 1,958,053 people vaccinated for COVID-19 as part of the Winter 2022 vaccination programme, 90.2% were vaccinated for Flu at the same vaccination appointment
  • As at 12 December 2022, the number of people waiting for a social care assessment was just over 7,000


Weekly national respiratory report:

Surveillance of respiratory infection is a key public health activity as it is associated with significant morbidity and mortality during the winter months and particularly in those at risk of complications of influenza, e.g., the elderly, those with chronic health problems and pregnant women.

The spectrum of respiratory illnesses varies 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 several 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 winter respiratory season. influenza page on the HPS website (external website) for more details.

COVID-19 weekly statistical report:

Since the start of the outbreak, Public Health Scotland (PHS) has been monitoring a number of key indicators to assess the impact of the virus, including demands on the health system.

This report summarises the current COVID-19 data in Scotland, presenting statistics on estimated infection levels from the ONS COVID Infection Survey, wastewater infection levels, reproduction (R) number, reported COVID-19 cases, COVID-19 hospital and ICU admissions and Flu and COVID-19 Winter 2022 Vaccination Programme uptake.

Further information

The next release of this publication will be 06 January 2023.

General enquiries

If you have an enquiry relating to this publication, please contact 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 December 2022
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