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 eight influenza cases: four type A (subtype unknown), and four type B. This compares with 12 influenza cases reported in week 41.
  • The proportion of NHS24 calls for respiratory symptoms in week 42 decreased to Low activity level overall. The 15-44, 45-64 and under 1 years age groups remained at Moderate activity level. The 1-4 age group decreased to Low activity level and the 5-14 age group decreased to Baseline activity level. The 65-74 age group remained at Low activity level and the over 74 age group remained at Baseline activity level.

  • Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) was at Low activity level. 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.

  • Rhinovirus and coronavirus (non-SARS-CoV-2) decreased to Low activity level.

  • Human metapneumovirus (HMPV) and parainfluenza were at Low activity level.

  • Influenza vaccine data are presented for the first seven weeks of the programme and indicate an estimated 944,989 eligible individuals 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 4 November 2021.

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: 27 October 2021
Was this page helpful?