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 was at Baseline activity level overall.
  • Influenza incidence remained at Low activity level overall.
    • There were 133 influenza cases: 102 type A (subtype unknown), 12 A(H1N1)pdm09, 13 A(H3) and six type B. This compares to 122 laboratory-confirmed cases reported during week 40.
  • Seasonal Coronavirus (non-SARS-CoV-2), HMPV, and Mycoplasma pneumoniae remained at Baseline activity level. Rhinovirus and parainfluenza decreased from Low to Baseline activity level. Adenovirus and RSV remained at Low activity level.
  • The number of laboratory-confirmed RSV cases was 181 This compares with 205 laboratory-confirmed cases in week 40. RSV cases are greater than what would be expected at this time of the year.
    • Four NHS Boards were at Baseline, eight were at Low and two were at Moderate activity level.
    • The 65-74 age group decreased from Moderate to Baseline activity level. The under 1 and 1-4 age groups remained at Low activity level. The 15-44 age group decreased from Moderate to Low activity level. The over 75 age group remained at Moderate activity level. The 45-64 age group increased from Low to Moderate activity level. The 5-14 age group remained at High activity level.
    • The majority (57.5%) of RSV detections in week 41 were in those aged under 5 years and the majority (76.2%) of diagnoses across all age groups occurred in the hospital setting.
  • The hospitalisation rate for influenza has been increasing since week 25 and was 1.0 per 100,000 in week 40, with the highest hospital admission rate for confirmed influenza noted in patients aged 75 years old and above (4.0 per 100,000). The current hospitalisation rate for influenza is lower than that for the five previous seasons prior to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • The hospitalisation rate for RSV was 1.7 per 100,000 in week 40, with the highest hospital admission rate for confirmed RSV noted in patients aged less than one year old (74.0 per 100,000). The hospitalisation rate for RSV peaked in week 38 and 39 in 2021 (4.5 per 100,000).
  • 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 41, 870,360 eligible adults are estimated to have received their vaccine. This includes 663,233 adults aged 65 years and over. In addition, 94% of those receiving their COVID winter booster and eligible for flu vaccine have received both vaccines at the same appointment 

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 26 October 2022.

General enquiries

If you have an enquiry relating to this publication, please contact 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: 18 October 2022
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