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.

Main points

Overall assessment:

  • The proportion of NHS24 calls for respiratory symptoms in week 25 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 remained at Moderate activity level.
  • In week 25, there were 16 influenza cases: 13 type A (subtype unknown), two type A(H3) and one type B.
  • In week 25, coronavirus (non-SARS-CoV-2), HMPV, RSV, rhinovirus and Mycoplasma pneumoniae were at Baseline activity level. Adenovirus and parainfluenza were at Low activity level.
  • The number of laboratory-confirmed RSV cases for week 25 is greater than what would be expected at this time of the year. In the under 5 years age group, RSV activity level decreased from Low to Baseline activity level and has increased in the 65-74 age group from Baseline to Low activity level. The majority (82%) of RSV detections in week 25 were in those aged under 5 years and the majority (90%) of diagnoses across all age groups occurred in the hospital setting.
  • The incidence rate for parainfluenza continues to show an increasing trend but remains at Low activity level, with 53 laboratory-confirmed cases in Scotland during week 25 (1.0 cases per 100,000 population). This compares with 40 laboratory-confirmed cases (0.7 cases per 100,000 population) in week 24.
  • The hospitalisation rate for influenza was 0.1 per 100,000 in week 25, with the highest hospital admission rate for confirmed influenza noted in patients aged 65-74 years (0.7 per 100,000). The highest hospitalisation rate for influenza this season was reported in week 11 (1.3 per 100,000).

Background

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.

Further information

The next release of this publication will be 7 July 2022.

General enquiries

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

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

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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: 07 October 2022
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