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Flu and COVID-19 surveillance report published

Weekly national influenza and COVID-19 report, COVID-19 activity, seasonal flu and other seasonal respiratory illnesses.

Latest update

The latest Flu and COVID-19 surveillance report, which includes respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) data and the national norovirus and rotavirus surveillance report, has been published along with the latest public health advice.

Flu surveillance data for week 8

Influenza activity decreased across most indicators.

Influenza positivity decreased to 7.4% in week 8 compared to 10.2% in the previous week. This is based on a percentage of people who test positive among those with symptoms tested at sentinel “spotter” laboratories, reported through the Respiratory DataMart surveillance system.

Through primary care surveillance, the influenza-like-illness (ILI) consultations indicator decreased to 6.7 per 100,000 in week 8 compared to 7.6 per 100,000 in the previous week and remained within the baseline activity level range.

Through the SIREN healthcare worker cohort study, the influenza positivity decreased in week 8 compared to the previous week.

The total number of confirmed influenza acute respiratory incidents remained stable compared to the previous week, remaining stable with 29 incidents reported in England during week 8.

Overall, influenza hospitalisations decreased to 3.14 per 100,000 in week 8 compared to 4.26 per 100,000 in the previous week and decreased to the low impact range.

Intensive care unit (ICU) or high dependency unit (HDU) admissions remained stable compared to the previous week and remained within the baseline impact range, while emergency department (ED) attendance for ILI continued to decrease overall.

COVID-19 surveillance data for week 8

COVID-19 activity decreased across most indicators and continues to circulate at low levels.

SARS-CoV-2 positivity decreased to 4.3% in week 8 compared to 5.0% in the previous week. This is based on a percentage of people who test positive among those with symptoms tested at sentinel “spotter” laboratories, reported through the Respiratory DataMart surveillance system.

Through the SIREN healthcare cohort study, the SARS-CoV-2 positivity decreased in week 8 compared to the previous week.

COVID-19 case rates and positivity in Pillar 1 decreased overall and within most regions and ethnic groups, and all age groups in week 8.

Overall, COVID-19 hospitalisations decreased to 2.23 per 100,000 in week 8 compared to 2.98 per 100,000 in the previous week.

COVID-19 ICU admissions remained low and stable at 0.09 per 100,000 in week 8.

The highest hospital admission rate is currently in the South West at 2.65 per 100,000.

Those aged 85 years and over had the highest hospital admission rate, which decreased to 27.12 per 100,000. Most other age groups saw a decrease.

Details of the Spring 2024 COVID-19 vaccination programme will be confirmed soon by NHS England, which will be offered to those who are aged 75 years and over, residents in a care home for older adults and individuals aged 6 months and over who are immunosuppressed.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Director of Public Health Programmes at UKHSA, said:

We continue to see a decrease in flu and COVID-19 activity in this week’s data, but people are still getting seriously ill from these viruses.

We can all help to prevent the spread of viruses like flu and COVID-19. Catching coughs and sneezes in a tissue, and washing your hands regularly are two simple actions we can all do. While meeting people indoors, having a window open will let fresh air circulate within the room.

If you are showing symptoms like a high temperature, cough, and feeling tired and achy, try to limit your contact with others, especially those who are vulnerable. If you do need to go out, consider wearing a mask.

Norovirus surveillance data for week 7

Norovirus activity has fluctuated in recent weeks. Laboratory reports in weeks 6 and 7 of 2024 were 15% higher than the 5-season average for the same period 2-week period.

The total number of enteric virus (EV) outbreaks reported during weeks 6 and 7 of 2024 remained 33% lower than the 5-season average for the same 2-week period. The majority of outbreaks were reported in care home settings and the outbreaks reported in hospital settings have decreased.

Please note the 5-season average is calculated from the same time period in the following seasons which excludes the COVID-19 pandemic period: 2015/2016, 2016/2017, 2017/2018, 2018/2019 and 2022/2023.

Amy Douglas, Norovirus Epidemiologist at UKHSA said:

Reports of norovirus have decreased in recent weeks but still remain high. Norovirus symptoms include nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea but can also include a high temperature, abdominal pain and aching limbs. Norovirus could cause dehydration, especially in vulnerable groups such as young children and older or immunocompromised people, so if you do get ill it is important to drink plenty of fluids during that time.

 If you have got diarrhoea and vomiting, you can take steps to avoid passing the infection on. Do not return to work, school or nursery until 48 hours after your symptoms have stopped and don’t prepare food for others in that time either. If you are unwell, avoid visiting people in hospitals and care homes to prevent passing on the infection in these settings.

Washing your hands with soap and warm water and using bleach-based products to clean surfaces will also help stop infections from spreading. Alcohol gels do not kill norovirus so don’t rely on these alone.

RSV surveillance data for week 8

Overall RSV activity continues to decrease.

The overall positivity (among people with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories) remained low at 0.8%, with the highest positivity in those aged under 5 years at 1.8%.

Previous

Thursday 22 February 2024

The latest Flu and COVID-19 surveillance report, which includes respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) data and the national norovirus and rotavirus surveillance report, has been published along with the latest public health advice.

Flu surveillance data for week 7

Influenza activity decreased across most indicators.

Influenza positivity decreased to 8.9% in week 7 compared to 12.3% in the previous week. This is based on a percentage of people who test positive among those with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories, reported through the Respiratory DataMart surveillance system.

Through primary care surveillance, the influenza-like-illness (ILI) consultations indicator decreased to 7.6 per 100,000 in week 7 compared to 9.1 per 100,000 in the previous week and remained within the baseline activity level range.

Through the SIREN healthcare cohort study, the influenza positivity remained stable in week 7 compared to the previous week.

The total number of confirmed influenza acute respiratory incidents decreased compared to the previous week, with 29 incidents reported in England during week 7.

Overall, influenza hospitalisations decreased to 4.27 per 100,000 in week 7 compared to 5.39 per 100,000 in the previous week and remained in the medium impact range.

Intensive care unit (ICU) or high dependency unit (HDU) admissions decreased compared to the previous week and returned to the baseline impact range, while emergency department (ED) attendances for ILI decreased overall.

COVID-19 surveillance data for week 7

COVID-19 activity decreased across most indicators and continues to circulate at low levels.

SARS-CoV-2 positivity decreased to 4.9% in week 7 compared to 6.3% in the previous week. This is based on a percentage of people who test positive among those with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories, reported through the Respiratory DataMart surveillance system.

Through the SIREN healthcare cohort study, the SARS-CoV-2 positivity decreased in week 7 compared to the previous week.

COVID-19 case rates and positivity in Pillar 1 decreased overall and within most age groups, regions, and ethnic groups in week 7.

Overall, COVID-19 hospitalisations decreased to 3.00 per 100,000 in week 7 compared to 3.60 per 100,000 in the previous week.

COVID-19 ICU admissions remained low and decreased to 0.09 per 100,000 in week 7.

The highest hospital admission rate is currently in West Midlands at 4.35 per 100,000.

Among age groups, those aged 85 years and over had the highest hospital admission rate, which decreased to 30.14 per 100,000. Most other age groups saw a decrease.

Details of the Spring 2024 COVID-19 vaccination programme will be confirmed soon by NHS England and will be offered to those who are aged 75 years and over and residents in a care home for older adults.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Director of Public Health Programmes at UKHSA, said:

In the past week levels of COVID-19 and flu have decreased.  It is encouraging to see flu activity falling but it is still flu season and many people still need hospital care for flu complications.

You can still get flu vaccine if you are eligible – in particular many pregnant women, and those with a long-term health conditions have yet to come forward this year. I encourage these people to contact their local pharmacist or GP surgery as soon as they can.

Catching coughs and sneezes in a tissue and washing your hands regularly are two simple actions we can all take to prevent the spread of viruses like flu and COVID-19. If you’re meeting people indoors, having a window open will let fresh air circulate within the room.

If you are showing symptoms like a high temperature, cough, and feeling tired and achy, you should try to limit your contact with others, especially those who are more vulnerable. If you do need to go out, consider wearing a mask.

Norovirus surveillance data for week 6

While reports of enteric virus (EV) outbreaks have been increasing, the total number of EV outbreaks reported during weeks 5 and 6 of 2024 remained 26% lower than the 5-season average for the same 2-week period. The majority of outbreaks were reported in care home settings.

Norovirus activity has decreased in recent weeks but laboratory reports in weeks 5 and 6 of 2024 were 25% higher than the 5-season average for the same 2-week period. However, they were within the overall historical range reported in the decade before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please note the 5-season average is calculated from the same time period in the following seasons which excludes the COVID-19 pandemic period: 2015/2016, 2016/2017, 2017/2018, 2018/2019 and 2022/2023.

Amy Douglas, Norovirus Epidemiologist at UKHSA said:

Reports of norovirus have decreased in recent weeks but still remain high. Norovirus symptoms include nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea but can also include a high temperature, abdominal pain and aching limbs. Norovirus could cause dehydration, especially in vulnerable groups such as young children and older or immunocompromised people, so if you do get ill it is important to drink plenty of fluids during that time.

If you have got diarrhoea and vomiting, you can take steps to avoid passing the infection on. Do not return to work, school or nursery until 48 hours after your symptoms have stopped and don’t prepare food for others in that time either. If you are unwell, avoid visiting people in hospitals and care homes to prevent passing on the infection in these settings.

Washing your hands with soap and warm water and using bleach-based products to clean surfaces will also help stop infections from spreading. Alcohol gels do not kill norovirus so don’t rely on these alone.

RSV surveillance data for week 7

Overall RSV activity continues to decrease.

The overall positivity (among people with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories) decreased to 0.8%, with the highest positivity in those aged under 5 years at 1.8%.

Previous

Thursday 15 February 2024

The latest Flu and COVID-19 surveillance report, which includes respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) data and the national norovirus and rotavirus surveillance report have been published along with the latest public health advice.

Flu surveillance data for week 6

Influenza activity decreased across most indicators.

Influenza positivity decreased to 11.5% in week 6 compared to 15.4% in the previous week. This is based on a percentage of people who test positive among those with symptoms tested at sentinel “spotter” laboratories, reported through the Respiratory DataMart surveillance system.

Through primary care surveillance, the influenza-like-illness (ILI) consultations indicator decreased slightly to 9.1 per 100,000 in week 6 compared to 9.6 per 100,000 in the previous week and remained within the baseline activity level range.

Through SIREN healthcare cohort study, the influenza positivity decreased in week 6 compared to the previous week.

The total number of confirmed influenza acute respiratory incidents decreased slightly compared to the previous week, with 40 incidents reported in England during week 6.

Overall, influenza hospitalisations decreased to 5.75 per 100,000 in week 6 compared to 6.87 per 100,000 in the previous week and remained in the medium impact range.

Intensive care unit (ICU) or high dependency unit (HDU) admissions rate increased slightly compared to the previous week and remained in the low impact range, while emergency department (ED) attendances for ILI decreased overall.

COVID-19 surveillance data for week 6

COVID-19 activity remained stable across most indicators, with some indicators showing a slight decrease.

SARS-CoV-2 positivity decreased to 6.3% in week 6 compared to 6.9% in the previous week. This is based on a percentage of people who test positive among those with symptoms tested at sentinel “spotter” laboratories, reported through the Respiratory DataMart surveillance system.

Through SIREN healthcare cohort study, the SARS-CoV-2 positivity slightly increased in week 6 compared to the previous week.

COVID-19 case rates and positivity in Pillar 1 decreased overall and within some age groups, regions, and ethnic groups in week 6.

Overall, COVID-19 hospitalisations decreased to 3.7 per 100,000 in week 6 compared to 4.1 per 100,000 in the previous week.

COVID-19 ICU admissions remained low and stable at 0.16 per 100,000 in week 6.

The highest hospital admission rate is currently in West Midlands at 5.12 per 100,000.

Among age groups, those aged 85 years and over had the highest hospital admission rate, which decreased to 39.53 per 100,000. Most other age groups saw a decrease.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Director of Public Health Programmes at UKHSA, said:

Flu activity shows an overall decrease this week but an increase in ICU admissions shows that we are not out of flu season just yet, people are still becoming severely ill with the virus.

The flu vaccine offers the best protection against severe illness and is still available from your GP or local pharmacy until the end of March. You are eligible if you are over 65, a child aged 2 or 3, have a specific long-term health condition, are pregnant, work in healthcare, or care for others.

COVID-19 activity remains stable, with some indicators showing decreases. Last week, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) announced the eligible groups available for the 2024 spring COVID-19 vaccine. This now includes individuals aged over 6 months who are immunosuppressed, those who are aged 75 years and over and residents in a care home for older adults. NHS England will soon confirm how these eligible groups will be able to come forward for their vaccine.

There are simple actions we can all take to prevent viruses like flu and COVID-19 spreading. Washing your hands regularly, catching coughs and sneezes and letting fresh air into rooms and spaces. If you are showing symptoms of a respiratory illness, try to limit your contact with others, especially those more vulnerable, and consider wearing a mask if you do need to go out.

Norovirus surveillance data for week 5

Norovirus laboratory reports in weeks 4 and 5 of 2024 were 52% higher than the 5-season average for the same period 2-week period, but within the overall historical range reported in the decade before the COVID-19 pandemic.

While reports of enteric virus (EV) outbreaks have been increasing, the total number of EV outbreaks reported during weeks 4 and 5 of 2024 remained 27% lower than the 5-season average for the same 2-week period. The majority of outbreaks were reported in care home settings

The timing of the peak of norovirus activity varies from one season to the next and this season the increase in reporting following Christmas has begun earlier compared to the 5-seasons from which the average is calculated.

Please note the 5-season average is calculated from the same time period in the following seasons which excludes the COVID-19 pandemic period: 2015/2016, 2016/2017, 2017/2018, 2018/2019 and 2022/2023.

Amy Douglas, Norovirus Epidemiologist at UKHSA said:

Reports of norovirus remain high. Norovirus symptoms include nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea but can also include a high temperature, abdominal pain and aching limbs. Norovirus could cause dehydration, especially in vulnerable groups such as young children and older or immunocompromised people, so if you do get ill it is important to drink plenty of fluids during that time.

If you have got diarrhoea and vomiting, you can take steps to avoid passing the infection on. Do not return to work, school or nursery until 48 hours after your symptoms have stopped and don’t prepare food for others in that time either. If you are unwell, avoid visiting people in hospitals and care homes to prevent passing on the infection in these settings.

Washing your hands with soap and warm water and using bleach-based products to clean surfaces will also help stop infections from spreading. Alcohol gels do not kill norovirus so don’t rely on these alone.

RSV surveillance data for week 6

Overall RSV activity continues to decrease.

The overall positivity (among people with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories) decreased to 1.1%, with the highest positivity in those aged under 5 years at 1.9%.

Previous

Thursday 08 February 2024

The latest Flu and COVID-19 surveillance report, which includes respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) data and the national norovirus and rotavirus surveillance report have been published along with the latest public health advice.

Flu surveillance data for week 5

Influenza activity showed a mixed picture, increasing in some indicators but decreasing in others.

Influenza positivity decreased to 14.3% in week 5 compared to 17.4% in the previous week. This is based on a percentage of people who test positive among those with symptoms tested at sentinel “spotter” laboratories, reported through the Respiratory DataMart surveillance system.

Through primary care surveillance, the influenza-like-illness (ILI) consultations indicator decreased slightly to 9.6 per 100,000 in week 5 compared to 9.8 per 100,000 in the previous week and remained within the baseline activity level range.

The total number of confirmed influenza acute respiratory incidents decreased slightly compared to the previous week, with 59 incidents reported in England during week 5.

Overall, influenza hospitalisations decreased slightly to 7.27 per 100,000 in week 5 compared to 7.43 per 100,000 in the previous week and remained in the medium impact range.

ICU or HDU admissions rate decreased compared to the previous week and remained in the low impact range, while emergency department (ED) attendances for ILI continued to increase in adults over 65 years old.

COVID-19 surveillance data for week 5

COVID-19 activity decreased across most indicators.

SARS-CoV-2 positivity decreased to 7.1% in week 5 compared to 8.0% in the previous week. This is based on a percentage of people who test positive among those with symptoms tested at sentinel “spotter” laboratories, reported through the Respiratory DataMart surveillance system.

COVID-19 case rates and positivity in Pillar 1 decreased overall and within some age groups, regions, and ethnic groups in week 5.

Overall, COVID-19 hospitalisations decreased to 4.1 per 100,000 in week 5 compared to 5.0 per 100,000 in the previous week.

COVID-19 ICU admissions remained low and stable at 0.14 per 100,000 in week 5.

The highest hospital admission rate is currently in South West England at 5.73 per 100,000. Throughout the regions, there was a mixed picture in hospital admission rates.

Among age groups, those aged 85 years and over had the highest hospital admission rate, which decreased to 45.03 per 100,000. Most other age groups saw a decrease.

A total of 7,858,122 people aged 65 years and over in England have been vaccinated with an autumn 2023 COVID-19 vaccine dose since 1 September 2023, totalling 70.4% of that population.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Director of Public Health Programmes at UKHSA, said:

It’s encouraging to see signs of a decrease for COVID-19 activity. However an increase in emergency department attendances for flu-like-illness in those over age 65 shows that flu is still circulating in those who could be more vulnerable to severe illness, despite other indicators showing a decline.

A free flu vaccine is still available from your GP or local pharmacy until the end of March, so there is still time to get vaccinated. You are eligible if you are over 65, a child aged 2 or 3, have a specific long-term health condition, are pregnant, work in healthcare, or care for others.

Allowing fresh air in when meeting others indoors, practising regular handwashing, and covering coughs and sneezes helps reduce the spread of respiratory infections such as flu and COVID-19. If you are showing symptoms of a respiratory illness, try to limit your contact with others, especially those more vulnerable, and consider wearing a mask if you do need to go out.

Norovirus surveillance data for week 4

Norovirus laboratory reports in weeks 3 and 4 of 2024 were 83% higher than the 5-season average for the same period 2-week period, but within the overall historical range reported in the decade before the COVID-19 pandemic. Reporting remains highest in adults aged 65 and older.  

While reports of enteric virus (EV) outbreaks have been increasing, the total number of EV outbreaks reported during weeks 3 and 4 of 2024 remained 17% lower than the 5-season average for the same 2-week period. The majority of outbreaks were reported in care home settings, but the outbreaks reported in hospital settings have also been increasing in recent weeks.

The timing of the peak of norovirus activity varies from one season to the next and this season the increase in reporting following Christmas has begun earlier compared to the 5-seasons from which the average is calculated.

Please note the 5-season average is calculated from the same time period in the following seasons which excludes the COVID-19 pandemic period: 2015/2016, 2016/2017, 2017/2018, 2018/2019 and 2022/2023.

Dr Lesley Larkin, Interim Deputy Director, Gastrointestinal Infections and Food Safety (One Health) Division at UKHSA said:

The latest data show a notable increase in norovirus reports and reports of outbreaks in hospital settings are rising.

Norovirus symptoms include nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea but can also include a high temperature, abdominal pain and aching limbs. Norovirus could cause dehydration, especially invulnerable groups such as young children and older or immunocompromised people, so if you do get ill it is important to drink plenty of fluids during that time.

If you have got diarrhoea and vomiting, you can take steps to avoid passing the infection on. Do not return to work, school or nursery until 48 hours after your symptoms have stopped and don’t prepare food for others in that time either. If you are unwell, avoid visiting people in hospitals and care homes to prevent passing on the infection in these settings.

Washing your hands with soap and warm water and using bleach-based products to clean surfaces will also help stop infections from spreading. Alcohol gels do not kill norovirus so don’t rely on these alone.

RSV surveillance data for week 5

Overall RSV activity continues to decrease

The overall positivity (among people with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories) decreased to 1.4%, with the highest positivity in those aged under 5 years at 2.6%.

Thursday 01 February 2024

The latest Flu and COVID-19 surveillance report, which includes respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) data and the national norovirus and rotavirus surveillance report have been published along with the latest public health advice.

Flu surveillance data for week 4

Influenza activity increased across most indicators.

Influenza positivity increased to 16.6% in week 4 compared to 14.0% in the previous week. This is based on a percentage of people who test positive among those with symptoms tested at sentinel “spotter” laboratories, reported through the Respiratory DataMart surveillance system.

Through primary care surveillance, the influenza-like-illness (ILI) consultations indicator increased to 9.8 per 100,000 in week 4 compared to 7.5 per 100,000 in the previous week and remained within the baseline activity level range.

The total number of confirmed influenza acute respiratory incidents in week 4 increased compared to the previous week, with 69 incidents reported in England during week 4.

Influenza hospitalisations increased to 7.63 per 100,000 in week 4 compared to 5.12 per 100,000 in the previous week and remained in the medium impact range.

ICU or HDU admissions rate increased compared to the previous week and crossed into the low impact range, while emergency department (ED) attendances for ILI increased nationally.

The provisional proportion of people in England who have received the 2023 to 2024 influenza vaccine in targeted groups is as follows:

  • 77.6% in all aged 65 years and over; vaccine uptake is lower compared to the equivalent week in the 2022 to 2023 season
  • 44.2% in all those aged 3 years, which is comparable compared to the equivalent week in the 2022 to 2023 season
  • 43.7% in all those aged 2 years, which is higher compared to the equivalent week in the 2022 to 2023 season
  • 41.0% in those aged under 65 years in a clinical risk group, which is lower compared to the equivalent week in the 2022 to 2023 season
  • 31.7% in all pregnant women, which is lower compared to the equivalent week in the 2022 to 2023 season

COVID-19 surveillance data for week 4

COVID-19 activity was mostly stable with increases in some indicators.

SARS-CoV-2 positivity decreased slightly to 8.3% in week 4 compared to 8.8% in the previous week. This is based on a percentage of people who test positive among those with symptoms tested at sentinel “spotter” laboratories, reported through the Respiratory DataMart surveillance system.

COVID-19 case rates and positivity in Pillar 1 has decreased overall and in some age groups, regions, and ethnic groups in week 4.

COVID-19 hospitalisations increased marginally to 5.0 per 100,000 in week 4 compared to 4.8 per 100,000 in the previous week.

COVID-19 ICU admissions remained stable at 0.15 per 100,000 in week 4.

The highest hospital admission rate is currently in South West England at 7.57 per 100,000. Throughout the regions, there was a mixed picture in hospital admission rates.

Among age groups, those aged 85 years and over had the highest hospital admission rate, which increased to 58.60 per 100,000. Most other age groups remained stable.

A total of 7,855,284 people aged 65 years and over in England have been vaccinated with an autumn 2023 COVID-19 vaccine dose since 1 September 2023, totalling 70.4% of that population.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Director of Public Health Programmes at UKHSA, said:

Flu cases and hospitalisations continue to increase, following a decrease over the festive period. COVID-19 activity remains mostly stable.

There are simple steps can take to reduce the spread of respiratory infections like flu and COVID-19. Let fresh air in when meeting others indoors, wash your hands and cover your coughs and sneezes. If you are showing symptoms of a respiratory illness, try to reduce your contact with others, particularly those who are more vulnerable, and consider wearing a mask if you do need to go out.

You can still get a free flu vaccine from your GP or local pharmacy if you are over 65, have certain long-term health conditions, are pregnant or are a health worker or carer. Children aged 2 or 3 years can receive a quick and painless nasal spray flu vaccine from their GP to help protect them against flu. While the flu vaccine offer is open until the end of March, it is best to get protected as soon as possible.

Norovirus surveillance data for week 3

Norovirus laboratory reports in weeks 2 and 3 of 2024 were 64% higher than the 5-season average for the same period 2-week period, but within the overall historical range reported in the decade before the COVID-19 pandemic. Reporting remains high in adults aged 65 and older.  

While reports of enteric virus (EV) outbreaks have been increasing, the total number of EV outbreaks reported during weeks 2 and 3 of 2024 remained lower than the 5-season average for the same 2-week period. The majority of outbreaks were reported in care home settings, but the number reported in hospital settings has increased during this 2-week period.

The timing of the peak of norovirus activity varies from one season to the next and this season the increase in reporting following Christmas has begun earlier compared to the 5-seasons from which the average is calculated.

Please note the 5-season average is calculated from the same time period in the following seasons which excludes the COVID-19 pandemic period: 2015/2016, 2016/2017, 2017/2018, 2018/2019 and 2022/2023.

Amy Douglas, Norovirus Epidemiologist at UKHSA, said:

The latest data show a notable increase in norovirus reports and outbreaks in hospital settings are rising.

Norovirus symptoms include nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea but can also include a high temperature, abdominal pain and aching limbs. Norovirus could cause dehydration, especially in vulnerable groups such as young children and older or immunocompromised people, so if you do get ill it is important to drink plenty of fluids during that time.

If you have got diarrhoea and vomiting, you can take steps to avoid passing the infection on. Do not return to work, school or nursery until 48 hours after your symptoms have stopped and don’t prepare food for others in that time either. If you are unwell, avoid visiting people in hospitals and care homes to prevent passing on the infection in these settings.

Washing your hands with soap and warm water and using bleach-based products to clean surfaces will also help stop infections from spreading. Alcohol gels do not kill norovirus so don’t rely on these alone.

RSV surveillance data for week 4

Overall RSV activity continues to decrease.

The overall positivity (among people with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories) decreased to 1.8%, with the highest positivity in adults older than 65 years of age at 2.5%.

Previous

Thursday 25 January 2024

The latest Flu and COVID-19 surveillance report, which includes respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) data and the national norovirus and rotavirus surveillance report have been published along with the latest public health advice.

Flu surveillance data for week 3

In week 3, influenza activity increased across most indicators.

Influenza positivity  increased to 13.0% in week 3 compared to 10.0% in the previous week. This is based on percentage of people who test positive among those with symptoms tested at sentinel “spotter” laboratories, reported through the Respiratory DataMart surveillance system.

Through primary care surveillance, the influenza-like-illness (ILI) consultations indicator decreased to 7.5 per 100,000 in week 3 compared to 8.0 per 100,000 in the previous week and remained within the baseline activity level range.

The total number of confirmed influenza acute respiratory incidents in week 3 increased compared to the previous week, with 51 incidents reported in England during week 3.

Influenza hospitalisations increased to 5.4 per 100,000 in week 3 compared to 4.1 per 100,000 in the previous week and remained in the medium impact range.

ICU or HDU admissions rate increased slightly compared to the previous week and was in the baseline impact range, while emergency department (ED) attendances for ILI increased nationally.

The provisional proportion of people in England who have received the 2023 to 2024 influenza vaccine in targeted groups is as follows:

  • 77.4% in all aged 65 years and over; vaccine uptake is lower compared to the equivalent week in the 2022 to 2023 season
  • 44.1% in all those aged 3 years, which is comparable compared to the equivalent week in the 2022 to 2023 season
  • 43.6% in all those aged 2 years, which is higher compared to the equivalent week in the 2022 to 2023 season
  • 40.8% in those aged under 65 years in a clinical risk group, which is lower compared to the equivalent week in the 2022 to 2023 season
  • 31.5% in all pregnant women, which is lower compared to the equivalent week in the 2022 to 2023 season
  • Based on an 82.8% response rate for frontline healthcare workers (HCWs) vaccine uptake is 42.0%, with over 437,000 HCWs vaccinated.
  • It is estimated over 2,281,000 children have been vaccinated in primary school (Reception to Year 6) so far this season, with a 53.8% uptake.
  • It is estimated over 1,305,000 children have been vaccinated in school-aged children (Year 7 to Year 11) so far this season, with a 41.2% uptake.

COVID-19 surveillance data for week 3

COVID-19 activity stabilised after decreases in recent weeks.

SARS-CoV-2 positivity remained stable at 8.9% in week 3 compared to 8.8% in the previous week. This is based on percentage of people who test positive among those with symptoms tested at sentinel “spotter” laboratories, reported through the Respiratory DataMart surveillance system.

COVID-19 case rates and positivity in Pillar 1 has decreased overall and in some age groups, regions, and ethnic groups in week 3.

COVID-19 hospitalisations remained stable at 4.8 per 100,000 in week 3 compared to 4.7 per 100,000 in the previous week.

COVID-19 intensive care unit (ICU) admissions increased slightly in week 3 compared to the previous week.

The highest hospital admission rate is currently in South West England at 6.22 per 100,000. Throughout the regions, there was a mixed picture in hospital admission rates.

Among age groups, those aged 85 years and over had the highest hospital admission rate, which remained stable at 53.87 per 100,000. Most other age groups remained stable.

A total of 7,850,375 people aged 65 years and over in England have been vaccinated with an autumn 2023 COVID-19 vaccine dose since 1 September 2023, totalling 70.3% of that population.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Director of Public Health Programmes at UKHSA, said:

This week our data shows that flu is on the rise and there is still time to get a flu vaccine up until the end of March, either free from your local pharmacy or your GP. Children aged 2 or 3 years can receive a quick and painless nasal spray flu vaccine from their GP to help protect them against flu.

There is less than a week to go before the window to book your COVID-19 vaccine closes on January 31. We’re urging all eligible people who have not yet done so to come forward so that they do not miss out on being protected against serious illness. You can find your closest walk-in COVID-19 vaccination site on the NHS website.

If you are showing symptoms of a respiratory illness, limiting your contact with other people, especially those who are elderly or vulnerable, will help to prevent the spread of disease and protect those around us.

Norovirus surveillance data for week 2

Norovirus laboratory reports in weeks 1 and 2 of 2024 were 40% higher than the 5-season average for the same period 2-week period. Reporting remains high in adults aged 65 and older.

The total number of EV outbreaks reported during weeks 1 and 2 of 2024 remained lower than the 5-season average for the same 2-week period, with the majority of outbreaks reported in care home settings.

Amy Douglas, Norovirus Epidemiologist at UKHSA, said:

The latest data show that norovirus cases were 40% higher than average for this point in the season.

If you have got diarrhoea and vomiting, you can take steps to avoid passing the infection on. Do not return to work, school or nursery until 48 hours after your symptoms have stopped and don’t prepare food for others in that time either. If you are unwell, avoid visiting people in hospitals and care homes to prevent passing on the infection in these vulnerable settings.

Washing your hands with soap and warm water and using bleach-based products to clean surfaces will also help stop infections from spreading. Alcohol gels do not kill norovirus so don’t rely on these alone.

RSV surveillance data for week 3

RSV activity continues to decrease.

The overall positivity (among people with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories) decreased to 2.5%, with the highest positivity in those aged under 5 years at 5%.

Previous

Thursday 18 January 2024

The latest national flu and COVID-19 surveillance report, which includes respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) data, and national norovirus and rotavirus surveillance report have been published along with the latest public health advice.

COVID-19 surveillance data for week 2

COVID-19 activity decreased across most indicators.

SARS-CoV-2 positivity decreased slightly to 9.1% in week 2 compared to 9.6% in the previous week. This refers to the percentage of people who test positive among those with symptoms tested at sentinel “spotter” laboratories, reported through the Respiratory DataMart surveillance system.

COVID-19 case rates and positivity in Pillar 1 decreased, with decreases observed in some age groups, regions, and ethnic groups in week 2.

The total number of reported SARS-CoV-2 confirmed acute respiratory incidents in week 2 remained stable compared to the previous week, with 46 incidents reported in England during week 2.

Overall, COVID-19 hospitalisations decreased to 4.6 per 100,000 in week 2 compared to 4.9 per 100,000 in the previous week.

COVID-19 intensive care unit (ICU) admissions increased slightly in week 2 compared to the previous week.

The highest hospital admission rate is currently in North West at 6.48 per 100,000. Most regions experienced a decrease in hospital admission rates this week.

Among age groups, those aged 85 years and over had the highest hospital admission rate, which remained stable at 52.99 per 100,000. Decreases were also observed in all other age groups.

A total 7,845,695 people aged 65 years and over in England have been vaccinated with an autumn 2023 COVID-19 vaccine dose since 1 September 2023, totalling 70.3% of that population.

The latest data published by the World Health Organization estimates that the COVID-19 vaccination programme saved around 400,000 lives in England up to March 2023.

Flu surveillance data for week 2

In week 2, influenza activity increased slightly across most indicators.

Influenza positivity increased to 10.0% in week 2 compared to 9.7% in the previous week. This refers to the percentage of people who test positive among those with symptoms tested at sentinel “spotter” laboratories, reported through the Respiratory DataMart surveillance system.

Through primary care surveillance, the influenza-like-illness (ILI) consultations indicator increased slightly to 8.0 per 100,000 in week 2 compared to 7.5 per 100,000 in the previous week and remained within the baseline activity level range.

There were 34 influenza confirmed acute respiratory incidents reported in England in week 2.

Overall, influenza hospitalisations increased slightly to 4.35 per 100,000 in week 2 compared to 4.21 per 100,000 in the previous week and remained in the medium impact range.

ICU or HDU admissions decreased compared to the previous week and was in the baseline impact range. Emergency department (ED) attendances for ILI decreased nationally.

The provisional proportion of people in England who have received the 2023 to 2024 influenza vaccine in targeted groups is as follows:

  • 77.3% in all aged 65 years and over; vaccine uptake is lower compared to the equivalent week in the 2022 to 2023 season
  • 43.8% in all those aged 3 years, which is comparable compared to the equivalent week in the 2022 to 2023 season
  • 43.4% in all those aged 2 years, which is higher compared to the equivalent week in the 2022 to 2023 season
  • 40.6% in those aged under 65 years in a clinical risk group, which is lower compared to the equivalent week in the 2022 to 2023 season
  • 31.3% in all pregnant women, which is lower compared to the equivalent week in the 2022 to 2023 season

Dr Mary Ramsay, Director of Public Health Programmes at UKHSA, said:

This week there has been a slight increase in flu levels but a continued decrease in COVID-19 rates.

Remember, flu and COVID-19 spread more easily during the colder months as we spend more time indoors. If you are showing symptoms of a respiratory illness, try to reduce your contact with others, especially those who are vulnerable.

It is less than two weeks until this season’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign closes. If you are eligible, you can still get vaccinated for flu and COVID-19. Some local pharmacies continue to offer flu and walk-in COVID-19 vaccinations for free on the NHS. Children aged 2 or 3 years can receive a quick and painless nasal spray flu vaccine from their GP to help protect them against flu.

RSV surveillance data for week 2

RSV activity continues to decrease.

The overall positivity (among people with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories) decreased to 3%, with the highest positivity in those aged under 5 years at 5.7%.

Dr Conall Watson, Consultant Epidemiologist at UKHSA, said:

RSV cases overall are decreasing, including in children below 5 years old, but the virus is still circulating and being detected in young children and older adults admitted to hospital with breathing difficulties.

RSV infections are usually mild but can cause breathing difficulties in babies and the elderly. Initial symptoms in infants are similar to a cold but can go on to include breathing more quickly or noisily and having difficulties feeding. For more information and advice, search for bronchiolitis on the NHS website.

You can protect yourself and others by washing your hands regularly, using a tissue to catch coughs or sneezes and washing your hands afterwards, and staying away from others if you feel unwell. RSV is another reason why babies need protection from tobacco smoke as this is linked with more severe RSV infections.

Norovirus surveillance data for week 1:

Norovirus laboratory reports in weeks 52 of 2023 and 1 of 2024 were 48% higher than the 5-season average for the same period 2-week period. Reporting remains high across all age groups, but particularly in adults aged 65 and older.

The total number of Enteric Virus (EV) outbreaks reported during weeks 52 of 2023 and 1 of 2024 remained lower than the 5-season average for the same 2-week period, with the majority of outbreaks reported in care home settings.

Amy Douglas, Norovirus Epidemiologist at UKHSA, said:

The latest data show that norovirus cases were nearly 50% higher than average for this point in the season. We have also been seeing higher levels of other gastrointestinal infections, such as shiga toxin-producing E.coli.

If you have got diarrhoea and vomiting, you can take steps to avoid passing the infection on. Do not return to work, school or nursery until 48 hours after your symptoms have stopped and don’t prepare food for others in that time either. If you are unwell, avoid visiting people in hospitals and care homes to prevent passing on the infection in these vulnerable settings.

Washing your hands with soap and warm water and using bleach-based products to clean surfaces will also help stop infections from spreading. Alcohol gels do not kill norovirus so don’t rely on these alone.

Previous

Thursday 11 January 2024

The latest national flu and COVID-19 surveillance report, which includes respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) data, and national norovirus and rotavirus surveillance report have been published along with the latest public health advice.

COVID-19 surveillance data for week 1

COVID-19 activity decreased across most indicators.

As reported in our latest Winter COVID-19 Infection Study (WCIS) data, estimated prevalence fell to 3.1% (one in 32 people) across England and Scotland in the 2 weeks to 3 January, down from 4.2% (one in 24 people) in the 2 weeks to 13 December.

In this week’s surveillance report, data on JN.1, a sub lineage of BA 2.86 is reported, and this designation has been applied retrospectively to previous weeks’ data. This variant is estimated to be currently responsible for 60% of cases in England.

SARS-CoV-2 positivity decreased slightly to 9.9% in week 1 compared to 10.2% in the previous week. This refers to the percentage of people who test positive among those with symptoms tested at sentinel “spotter” laboratories, reported through the Respiratory DataMart surveillance system.

COVID-19 case rates and positivity in Pillar 1 decreased, with decreases observed in some age groups, regions, and ethnic groups in week 1.

The total number of reported SARS-CoV-2 confirmed acute respiratory incidents in week 1 remained stable compared to the previous week, with 51 incidents reported in England during week 1.

Overall, COVID-19 hospitalisations decreased to 4.9 per 100,000 in week 1 compared to 5.2 per 100,000 in the previous week.

COVID-19 ICU admissions decreased in week 1 compared to the previous week.

The highest hospital admission rate is currently in South West at 6.05 per 100,000. Most regions experienced an decrease in hospital admission rates this week.

Among age groups, those aged 85 years and over had the highest hospital admission rate, reaching 51.97 per 100,000, with decreases observed in all other age groups except those aged 5 to 14 years, which remained stable.

The overall weekly ICU or HDU admission rate for COVID-19 decreased to 0.14 per 100,000, compared to 0.25 per 100,000 in the previous week. The ICU or HDU admission rate for COVID-19 by UKHSA region or by age group fluctuated at low levels in week 1 due to low underlying numbers.

A total 7,840,192 people aged 65 years and over in England have been vaccinated with an autumn 2023 COVID-19 booster dose since 1 September 2023, totalling 70.2% of that population.

Flu surveillance data for week 1

Influenza activity decreased across some indicators, including hospital admissions, but increased in others.

Influenza positivity decreased to 9.6% in week 1 compared to 12.1% in the previous week. This refers to the percentage of people who test positive among those with symptoms tested at sentinel “spotter” laboratories, reported through the Respiratory DataMart surveillance system.

Through primary care surveillance, the influenza-like-illness (ILI) consultations indicator increased to 7.5 per 100,000 in week 1 compared to 4.9 per 100,000 the previous week and remained within the baseline activity level range.

There were 21 influenza confirmed acute respiratory incidents reported in England in week 1.

Influenza hospitalisations decreased from 6.23 per 100,000 in week 52 to 5.08 per 100,000 in week 1 and remained in the medium impact range.

Intensive care unit (ICU) or high dependency unit (HDU) admissions decreased compared to the previous week and remained in the low impact range. Emergency department (ED) attendances for ILI decreased nationally.

In week 1, the overall ICU or HDU rate for influenza decreased slightly to 0.14 per 100,000 compared to 0.17 per 100,000 in the previous week. The rate last week remained within baseline activity levels.

The provisional proportion of people in England who have received the 2023 to 2024 influenza vaccine in targeted groups is as follows:

  • 77.1% in all aged 65 years and over; vaccine uptake is lower compared to the equivalent week in the 2022 to 2023 season

  • 43.5% in all aged 3 years, which is comparable compared to the equivalent week in the 2022 to 2023 season

  • 43.2% in all aged 2 years, which is higher compared to the equivalent week in the 2022 to 2023 season

  • 40.4% in those aged under 65 years in a clinical risk group, which is lower compared to the equivalent week in the 2022 to 2023 season

  • 31% in all pregnant women, which is lower compared to the equivalent week in the 2022 to 2023 season

Dr Alexander Allen, Consultant Epidemiologist at UKHSA, said:

It’s promising that we see a decline in both flu hospital admissions and COVID-19, but this may be partly down to how people mix and seek health services differently over the Christmas period. Some indicators show that flu cases in the community are on the rise, so we are not out of flu season just yet.

Flu and COVID-19 spread more easily as we spend more time indoors during the colder months. If you are showing symptoms of a respiratory illness, try to reduce contact with others, especially those who are vulnerable.

Time is now running out to get a flu and COVID-19 vaccine if you’re eligible. With just weeks left, those aged over 65 years, pregnant women, and clinical risk groups can still speak to their GP about getting vaccinated. Children aged 2 or 3 years can receive a quick and painless nasal spray flu vaccine from their GP to help protect them against flu. Local pharmacies also continue to offer flu and walk-in COVID-19 vaccinations for free on the NHS.

RSV surveillance data for week 1

RSV activity has decreased but is still circulating.

The overall positivity (among people with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories) decreased to 4.5%, with the highest positivity in those aged under 5 years at 10.5%.

Dr Conall Watson, Consultant Epidemiologist at UKHSA, said:

RSV cases overall are decreasing, including in children aged under 5 years, but the virus is still circulating and being detected in young children and older adults admitted to hospital with breathing difficulties.

RSV infections are usually mild but can cause breathing difficulties in babies and the elderly. Initial symptoms in infants are similar to a cold but can go on to include breathing more quickly or noisily and having difficulties feeding. For more information and advice, search for bronchiolitis on the NHS website.

You can protect yourself and others by washing your hands regularly, using a tissue to catch coughs or sneezes and washing your hands afterwards, and staying away from others if you feel unwell. RSV is another reason why babies need protection from tobacco smoke as this is linked with more severe RSV infections.

Norovirus surveillance data for week 52

Norovirus laboratory reports in weeks 51 and 52 were 48% higher than the 5-season average for the same period 2-week period. The highest rates of reporting were in children aged under 5 years and adults aged 65 years and over.

The total number of EV outbreaks reported during weeks 51 and 52 remained lower than the 5-season average for the same 2-week period, with the majority of outbreaks reported in care home settings.

Amy Douglas, Norovirus Epidemiologist at UKHSA, said:

At the end of December, norovirus cases were nearly 50% higher than average for that time of year. We have also been seeing higher levels of other gastrointestinal infections, such as shiga toxin-producing E.coli.

If you have got diarrhoea and vomiting, you can take steps to avoid passing it on. Do not return to work, school or nursery until 48 hours after your symptoms have stopped and don’t prepare food for others in that time either. If you are unwell, avoid visiting people in hospitals and care homes to avoid passing on the infection in these vulnerable settings.

Washing your hands with soap and warm water and using bleach-based products to clean surfaces will also help stop infections from spreading. Alcohol gels do not kill norovirus so don’t rely on these alone.

Previous

Friday 5 January 2024

The latest national flu and COVID-19 surveillance report, which includes respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) data, and national norovirus and rotavirus surveillance report, have been published along with the latest public health advice.

COVID-19 surveillance up until end of week 52

Overall COVID-19 activity showed mixed activity between week 52 and 51, whilst we have seen increases since the publication of our previous report in week 50.

SARS-CoV-2 positivity decreased to 10.1%, from 11.2% in the previous week, according to data from Respiratory DataMart.

COVID-19 case rates and positivity in Pillar 1 remained stable, with decreases observed in some age groups, regions, and ethnic groups in week 52.

The total number of reported SARS-CoV-2 confirmed acute respiratory incidents remained stable compared to the previous week, with 50 incidents reported in England during week 52.

COVID-19 hospitalisations increased to 5.2 per 100,000 in week 52, compared to 4.8 per 100,000 in the previous week. Hospitalisations were highest in the group of those aged 85 years and over.

COVID-19 ICU admissions increased in week 52 compared to the previous week.

Two-thirds (66%) of sequenced SARS-CoV-2 cases were classified as BA.2.86 (V-23AUG-01) in week 52.

The highest hospital admission rate is currently in South West at 6.48 per 100,000. Most regions experienced an increase in hospital admission rates this week.

Among age groups, those aged 85 years and over had the highest hospital admission rate, reaching 55.01 per 100,000, with increases observed in all other age groups except those aged 5 to 14 years.

The overall weekly ICU or HDU admission rate for week 51 increased to 0.24 per 100,000 from 0.15 per 100,000 in the previous week. The ICU or HDU admission rate increased at low levels in week 52 across UKHSA regions and age groups.

A total of 7,835,586 people aged 65 and over in England have been vaccinated with an autumn 2023 COVID-19 booster dose since 1 September 2023, totalling 70.2% of that population.

Flu surveillance up until end of week 52

Through Respiratory DataMart, influenza positivity increased slightly to 11.8% in week 52 compared to week 51 11.2% in the previous week.

Primary care surveillance indicated a decrease in influenza-like-illness (ILI) consultations to 4.9 per 100,000 in week 52 compared to 7.7 per 100,000 the previous week and remained within the baseline activity level range.

During week 52, 14 confirmed influenza acute respiratory incidents were reported in England.

Influenza hospitalisations increased to 6.8 per 100,000 from 5.1 per 100,000 last week, and has crossed the medium impact threshold.

Intensive care unit (ICU) or high dependency unit (HDU) admissions increased compared to the previous week and remained the low impact threshold. Emergency department attendances for ILI increased nationally.

Weekly influenza vaccine uptake for the 2023 to 2024 season showed higher rates for those aged 2 years and those aged 3 years, but lower rates for those aged 65 years and over, pregnant women, and those under 65 years in clinical risk groups compared to the equivalent week in the previous season (2022 to 2023).

The overall flu ICU or HDU rate increased to 0.17 per 100,000 compared to 0.10 per 100,000 in the previous week. The rate last week remained within baseline activity levels.The provisional proportion of people in England who have received the 2023 to 2024 influenza vaccine in targeted groups is as follows:

  • 76.9% in all aged 65 years and over; vaccine uptake is lower compared to the equivalent week in the 2022 to 2023 season
  • 43% in all aged 3 years, which is higher compared to the equivalent week in the 2022 to 2023 season
  • 42.9% in all aged 2 years, which is higher compared to the equivalent week in the 2022 to 2023 season
  • 40.1% in those aged under 65 years in a clinical risk group, which is lower compared to the equivalent week in the 2022 to 2023 season
  • 30.7% in all pregnant women, which is lower compared to the equivalent week in the 2022 to 2023 season

Dr Mary Ramsay, Director of Public Health Programmes at UKHSA, said:

Over the festive period, we have seen an increase in both COVID-19 and flu activity. More socialising indoors during periods of cold weather allows viruses to spread more easily. It’s likely that we could see further increases as we head further into winter and the weather drops colder. The winter peak for flu is still to come and may coincide with high levels of COVID-19.

As we head back to work or school, the best way to help stop the spread of respiratory infections, like COVID-19 and flu, when you are unwell, is to reduce contact with other people, especially those who are vulnerable. If you have symptoms such as a continuous cough, sore throat or high temperature, try to reschedule your plans until you feel better in order to protect others.

Remember that it’s still not too late to get a flu and COVID-19 vaccine if you’re eligible. Those eligible for a flu and COVID-19 vaccine, such as those aged over 65, pregnant women, and clinical risk groups can still speak to their GP about getting vaccinated. Local pharmacies also continue to offer both bookable flu and walk-in COVID-19 vaccinations for free on the NHS. Children aged 2 or 3 years are also eligible for a quick and painless nasal spray flu vaccine from their GP.

It’s fine to send your child to school or nursery with a minor cough or common cold if they are otherwise well and do not have a high temperature. But if your child has a fever, they should stay home from school or nursery until they feel better, and the fever has resolved.

RSV surveillance up until end of week 52

RSV activity has decreased but is still circulating widely.

The overall positivity (among people with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories) decreased to 5.8%, with the highest positivity in those aged under 5 years at 14.2%.

Dr Conall Watson, Consultant Epidemiologist at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

RSV cases overall are decreasing, including in children below 5 years old, but the virus is still circulating widely and being detected in young children and older adults admitted to hospital with breathing difficulties.

RSV infections are usually mild but can cause breathing difficulties in babies and the elderly. Initial symptoms in infants are similar to a cold but can go on to include breathing more quickly or noisily and having difficulties feeding. For more information and advice, search for bronchiolitis on the NHS website.

You can protect yourself and others by washing your hands regularly, using a tissue to catch coughs or sneezes and washing your hands afterwards, and staying away from others if you feel unwell. RSV is another reason why babies need protection from tobacco smoke as this is linked with more severe RSV infections.

Norovirus surveillance up until end of week 51

Norovirus activity has been increasing since week 44 of 2023, particularly in adults aged 65 years and over. Laboratory reports in weeks 50 and 51 were 49% higher than the 5-season average for the same period 2-week period.

The total number of EV outbreaks reported during weeks 50 and 51 remained lower than the 5-season average for the same 2-week period, with the majority of outbreaks in care home settings.

Amy Douglas, Norovirus Epidemiologist at UKHSA, said:

At the end of December, norovirus cases were nearly 50% higher than average for that time of year. We have also been seeing higher levels of other gastrointestinal infections, such as rotavirus and shiga toxin-producing E.coli.

If you have got diarrhoea and vomiting, you can take steps to avoid passing it on. As the new year gets underway, do not return to work, school or nursery until 48 hours after your symptoms have stopped and don’t prepare food for others in that time either. If you are unwell, avoid visiting people in hospitals and care homes to avoid passing on the infection in these vulnerable settings.

Washing your hands with soap and water and using bleach-based products to clean surfaces will also help stop infections from spreading. Alcohol gels do not kill norovirus so don’t rely on these alone.

Previous

Friday 22 December 2023

The latest national flu and COVID-19 surveillance report, which includes respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) data, and national norovirus and rotavirus surveillance report, have been published along with the latest public health advice.

Flu surveillance up until end of week 50

There continues to be a notable increase in influenza positivity to 8.9%, up from 4.9% in the previous week, based on data from Respiratory DataMart.

Primary care surveillance indicated a rise in influenza-like-illness (ILI) consultations to 6.3 per 100,000, compared to 5.3 per 100,000 in the previous week, remaining within the baseline activity level range.

During week 50, 12 confirmed influenza acute respiratory incidents were reported in England.

Influenza hospitalisations increased to 3.46 per 100,000 from 1.95 per 100,000 last week, and is rapidly approaching the medium impact threshold in week 50. Intensive care unit (ICU) or high dependency unit (HDU) admissions increased slightly compared to the previous week and are approaching the low impact threshold.

Emergency department attendances for ILI increased nationally.

Weekly influenza vaccine uptake for the 2023 to 2024 season showed higher rates for those aged 2 years and those aged 3 years, but lower rates for those aged 65 years and over, pregnant women, and those under 65 years in clinical risk groups compared to the equivalent week in the previous season (2022 to 2023).

The overall flu ICU or HDU rate increased to 0.09 per 100,000 compared to 0.07 per 100,000 in the previous week. The rate last week remained within baseline activity levels.

The provisional proportion of people in England who have received the 2023 to 2024 influenza vaccine in targeted groups is as follows:

  • 76.7% in all aged 65 years and over; vaccine uptake is lower compared to the equivalent week in the 2022 to 2023 season
  • 42.5% in all aged 3 years, which is higher compared to the equivalent week in the 2022 to 2023 season
  • 42.5% in all aged 2 years, which is higher compared to the equivalent week in the 2022 to 2023 season
  • 39.7% in those aged under 65 years in a clinical risk group, which is lower compared to the equivalent week in the 2022 to 2023 season
  • 30.3% in all pregnant women, which is lower compared to the equivalent week in the 2022 to 2023 season

Monthly vaccine uptake data for school-aged children, frontline healthcare workers and GP patients, was published today for the period 1 September to 30 November 2023, with comparator figures for previous seasons. All data is provisional and available from:

UKHSA has now advised the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) that the rates of influenza circulating in the community support the use of antiviral medication for some patients presenting with ILI in hospitals or at GP surgeries.

The Chief Medical Officer (CMO) and Chief Pharmaceutical Officer (CPhO) for England have written to health professionals to authorise prescribing of these antivirals in NHS primary care and dispensing through community pharmacy. Hospitals can already use influenza antivirals year-round.

When used for treatment or post-exposure prophylaxis of patients at risk of influenza complications, antivirals are effective in reducing hospitalisation and preventing influenza illness. UKHSA guidance advises testing to rule out COVID-19 as a minimum before prescribing.

COVID-19 surveillance up until end of week 50

Overall COVID-19 activity increased in most regions, ethnicities, and age groups.

SARS-CoV-2 positivity increased to 9.2%, up from 7.2% in the previous week, according to data from Respiratory DataMart.

COVID-19 case rates and positivity in Pillar 1 increased overall and within most age groups, regions, and ethnic groups in week 50.

The total number of reported SARS-CoV-2 confirmed acute respiratory incidents remained stable compared to the previous week, with 39 incidents reported in England during week 50.

COVID-19 hospitalisations increased to 4.68 per 100,000 in week 50, compared to 3.89 per 100,000 in the previous week. Hospitalisations were highest in the group of those aged 85 years and over.

COVID-19 ICU admissions remained low and stable in week 50 compared to the previous week.

The highest hospital admission rate was observed in the West Midlands, rising to 6.08 per 100,000. The remaining regions experienced an increase in hospital admission rates.

Among age groups, those aged 85 years and over had the highest hospital admission rate, reaching 52.14 per 100,000, with increases observed in all other age groups except those aged 5 to 14 years.

The overall weekly ICU or HDU admission rate for COVID-19 remained very low at 0.15 per 100,000, showing a slight increase from 0.14 per 100,000 in the previous week.

The ICU or HDU admission rate fluctuated at low levels in week 50 across UKHSA regions and age groups, reflecting the impact of low underlying numbers. ICU or HDU admission rates may indicate a lag from hospital admission to transfer to an ICU or HDU ward.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Director of Public Health Programmes at UKHSA, said:

The effects of the recent cold weather and increased socialising indoors in the run-up to Christmas are unsurprisingly causing flu and COVID-19 to spread more easily and numbers infected going up further.

If you are eligible for a flu and COVID-19 vaccine you can still speak to your GP about getting vaccinated to help protect you from these infections. Alternatively, local pharmacies continue to offer both bookable flu and walk-in COVID-19 vaccinations for free on the NHS.

Nobody wants to get their new year off to a bad start, so be sure to gift yourself the best possible protection against flu and COVID-19 as we head into peak season.

Pregnant women and those in clinical risk groups are at higher risk of complications from flu but over 60% of these groups remain unvaccinated, so we urge them to come forward. Children aged 2 or 3 years are also eligible for a quick and painless nasal spray flu vaccine, which helps prevent hospitalisations, as well as helps parents from not having to juggle a poorly child with work and other commitments.

If you are showing signs of a respiratory illness, like flu and COVID-19, try to limit your contact with others as much as possible, particularly those who are more vulnerable.

RSV surveillance up until end of week 50

RSV activity has decreased but is still circulating widely.

The overall positivity (among people with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories) decreased to 8.5% (compared to 10.1% the previous week), with the highest positivity in those aged under 5 years at 23.1%.

Emergency department attendances for acute bronchiolitis and RSV hospital admissions decreased.

Dr Conall Watson, Consultant Epidemiologist at UKHSA, said:

RSV cases are decreasing, including in children aged under 5 years, but the virus is still circulating widely and being detected in young children and older adults admitted to hospital with breathing difficulties.

RSV infections are usually mild but can cause breathing difficulties in babies and the elderly. Initial symptoms in infants are similar to a cold but can go on to include breathing more quickly or noisily and having difficulties feeding. For more information and advice, search for bronchiolitis on NHS.UK.

You can protect yourself and others by washing your hands regularly, using a tissue to catch coughs or sneezes and washing your hands afterwards, and staying away from others if you feel unwell. RSV is another reason why babies need protection from tobacco smoke as this is linked with more severe RSV infections.

Norovirus up until the end of week 49

Norovirus activity has been increasing since week 44, particularly in adults aged 65 years and over, laboratory reports in weeks 48 and 49 were 76% higher than the previous 2-week period of weeks 46 and 47.

Norovirus activity (based on lab reports) during weeks 48 and 49, 2023, was 29% higher than the 5-season average for the same 2-week period. The majority of reported EV outbreaks occurred in care home settings (61%).

Amy Douglas, Norovirus Epidemiologist at UKHSA, said:

Norovirus cases continue to rise, especially among those 65 years and over and in care homes.

If you have norovirus or any other stomach bug that causes diarrhoea and vomiting, you can take steps to avoid passing it on to family and friends over the festive period. Don’t prepare food for others if you have symptoms or for 48 hours after symptoms stop. Many of us will be travelling for Christmas, but you should avoid visiting people in hospitals and care homes to avoid passing on the infection in these settings. Do not return to work or school once term restarts, until 48 hours after your symptoms have stopped.

Washing your hands with soap and water and using bleach-based products to clean surfaces will also help stop infections from spreading.

Friday 15 December 2023

The latest national flu and COVID-19 surveillance report, which includes respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) data, and national norovirus and rotavirus surveillance report, have been published along with the latest public health advice.

Flu surveillance up until end of week 49

There was a notable increase in influenza positivity to 5.6%, up from 2.4% in the previous week, based on data from Respiratory DataMart.

Primary care surveillance indicated a rise in influenza-like-illness (ILI) consultations to 5.3 per 100,000, compared to 4.6 per 100,000 in the previous week, remaining within the baseline activity level range.

Nine confirmed influenza acute respiratory incidents were reported in England during week 49.

Influenza hospitalisations increased from 0.86 per 100,000 to 2.14 per 100,000, and are now above the baseline threshold entering the low impact range, intensive care unit (ICU) or high dependency unit (HDU) admissions also rose sharply, with 35 new admissions in week 49, remaining within baseline levels.

Emergency department attendances for ILI increased nationally.

UKHSA has advised the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) that the rates of influenza circulating in the community support the use of antiviral medication for some patients presenting with ILI in hospitals or at GP surgeries.

The Chief Medical Officer (CMO) and Chief Pharmaceutical Officer (CPhO) for England have written to health professionals to authorise prescribing of these antivirals in NHS primary care and dispensing through community pharmacy. Hospitals can already use influenza antivirals year-round.

When used for treatment or post-exposure prophylaxis of patients at risk of influenza complications, antivirals are effective in reducing hospitalisation and preventing influenza illness. UKHSA guidance advises testing to rule out COVID-19 as a minimum before prescribing.

Weekly influenza vaccine uptake for the 2023 to 2024 season showed higher rates for those aged 2 years and aged 3 years but lower rates for those aged 65 years and over, pregnant women, and those aged under 65 years in clinical risk groups compared to the equivalent week in the previous season (2022 to 2023).

The provisional proportion of people in England who have received the 2023 to 2024 influenza vaccine in targeted groups is as follows:

  • 76.3% in all aged 65 years and over; vaccine uptake is almost 2 percentage points lower compared to the equivalent week in the 2022 to 2023 season
  • 41.7% in all aged 3 years, which is comparable to the equivalent week in the 2022 to 2023 season
  • 41.8% in all aged 2 years, which is higher compared to the equivalent week in the 2022 to 2023 season
  • 39.1% in those aged under 65 years in a clinical risk group, which is lower compared to the equivalent week in the 2022 to 2023 season
  • 28.4% in all pregnant women, which is lower compared to the equivalent week in the 2022 to 2023 season

COVID-19 surveillance up until end of week 49

Overall COVID-19 activity increased in most regions, ethnicities, and age groups.

SARS-CoV-2 positivity saw a slight increase to 7.5%, up from 6.4% in the previous week, according to data from Respiratory DataMart.

COVID-19 case rates and positivity in Pillar 1 increased overall, with rises observed across various age groups, regions, and ethnic groups in week 49.

The total number of reported SARS-CoV-2 confirmed acute respiratory incidents rose compared to the previous week, with 37 incidents reported in England during week 49. COVID-19 hospitalisations showed a slight increase to 3.80 per 100,000 in week 49, compared to 2.96 per 100,000 in the previous week. Hospitalisations were highest in the group aged 85 years and over.

Despite an increase in COVID-19 ICU admissions in week 49, there was no detailed comparison provided with the previous week’s data.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Director of Public Health Programmes at UKHSA, said:

Flu levels are starting to rise, so get your vaccine now to get winter strong. Pregnant women, their unborn babies and those in clinical risk groups are at higher risk of complication from flu. Taking up both the flu and COVID-19 vaccines provides the best protection for both pregnant women and their baby, reducing the risk of severe complications, intensive care needs, stillbirth, and prematurity.

If you are the parent of a child aged 2 or 3 years, don’t forget that they are also eligible for the flu vaccine and this can be booked via your GP – the nasal spray will help prevent hospitalisations, reduce the spread of flu in the community and avoid you having to juggle a sick child with work and other commitments.

The NHS national booking system closed yesterday. But eligible persons can still continue to speak to their GP, or alternatively a local pharmacist about getting their vaccination.

You can help reduce the spread of these infections by avoiding mixing with others where possible when showing signs of a respiratory illness like flu and COVID-19, particularly those who are more vulnerable.

RSV surveillance up until end of week 49

RSV activity decreased, including in children aged under 5 years. The overall positivity (among people with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories) decreased to 10.1% (compared to 12.8% the previous week), with the highest positivity in those aged under 5 years at 27.9%.

Emergency department attendances for acute bronchiolitis and RSV hospital admissions decreased

Conall Watson, Consultant Epidemiologist at UKHSA, said:

RSV cases have started to decrease, including in children aged under 5 years, but the virus is still circulating at high levels.

RSV infections are usually mild but can cause breathing difficulties in babies and the elderly. Initial symptoms in infants are similar to a cold but can go on to include breathing more quickly or noisily and having difficulties feeding. For more information and advice, search for bronchiolitis on NHS.UK.

You can protect yourself and others by washing your hands regularly, using a tissue to catch coughs or sneezes and washing your hands afterwards, and staying away from others if you feel unwell. RSV is another reason why babies need protection from tobacco smoke as this is linked with more severe RSV infections.

Norovirus up until the end of week 48

Norovirus activity has been increasing since week 44 across all age groups, laboratory reports in weeks 47 and 48 were 41% higher than the previous 2-week period of weeks 45 and 46, 2023.

While the total number of EV outbreaks reported during weeks 47 and 48 remained lower than the 5-season average for the same 2-week period, the number of outbreaks reported in week 48 increased across all settings compared to week 47. The majority of reported EV outbreaks occurred in care home settings (68%).

Amy Douglas, Norovirus Epidemiologist at UKHSA, said:

As reports of norovirus cases have been rising across all age groups, it’s important we take steps to try and stop it spreading. Symptoms include sudden onset of nausea, projectile vomiting and diarrhoea but can also include a high temperature, abdominal pain and aching limbs. If you or a family member have been unwell with norovirus, you should avoid visiting people in hospitals and care homes to avoid passing the infection. Do not return to work, school or nursery, until 48 hours after your symptoms have stopped.

Using bleach-based products to clean surfaces will also help stop the virus from spreading. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration which can result in hospitalisation, particularly for the most vulnerable.

Friday 8 December 2023

The latest national flu and COVID-19 surveillance report, which includes respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) data, and national norovirus and rotavirus surveillance report, have been published along with the latest public health advice.

Flu surveillance up until end of week 48

Most indicators show that flu activity has increased slightly but remains within baseline levels.

Influenza positivity increased to 2.3% in week 48 compared to 1.7% in the previous week. This refers to the percentage of people who test positive among those with symptoms tested at sentinel “spotter” laboratories, reported through the Respiratory DataMart surveillance system.

Hospital admissions, including intensive care unit (ICU) and high dependency unit (HDU) admissions increased slightly.

The overall flu hospital admission for this week remained low but increased to 0.92 per 100,000 population, compared to 0.59 per 100,000 last week.

Those aged 85 years and over have the highest level of hospital admissions this week with a rate of 30.42 per 100,000 population.

The provisional proportion of people in England who have received the 2023 to 2024 influenza vaccine in targeted groups is as follows:

  • 75.9% in all aged 65 years and over, which is comparable to the equivalent week in the 2022 to 2023 season
  • 40.6% in all aged 3 years, which is higher compared to the equivalent week in the 2022 to 2023 season
  • 40.8% in all aged 2 years, which is higher compared to the equivalent week in the 2022 to 2023 season
  • 38.3% in those aged under 65 years in a clinical risk group, which is lower compared to the equivalent week in the 2022 to 2023 season
  • 27.7% in all pregnant women, which is lower compared to the equivalent week in the 2022 to 2023 season

COVID-19 surveillance up until end of week 48 

COVID-19 activity has plateaued overall, although there have been slight increases in some age groups.

COVID-19 positivity increased slightly to 6.5% in week 48 compared to 5.4% in the previous week. This refers to the percentage of people who test positive among those with symptoms tested at sentinel “spotter” laboratories, reported through the Respiratory DataMart surveillance system.

COVID-19 hospitalisations increased slightly to 2.9 per 100,000 population this week compared to 2.58 per 100,000 in the previous week. Hospitalisations were highest in the group of those aged 85 years and over.

COVID-19 case rates and positivity rates through Pillar 1 decreased slightly with a weekly mean positivity rate of 7.5% compared to 7.6% in the previous week.

Intensive care units (ICU) and high dependency units (HDU) admission rates for this week’s report remained low and stable.

Hospital admission rates increased slightly. For COVID-19, they were highest in London at 3.41 per 100,000 population this week.

A total of 7,714,380 people aged 65 and over in England have been vaccinated with an autumn 2023 COVID-19 booster dose since 1 September 2023, totalling 69.1% of that population.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Director of Public Health Programmes at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

Millions of eligible people are missing out on vital vaccinations that will provide protection against severe disease this winter. Flu levels are starting to rise, so get your vaccine now to get winter strong and keep your festive plans on track. Pregnant women, their unborn babies and those in clinical risk groups are at higher risk of complication from flu. Vaccinating pregnant women also helps to provide protection to newborn babies who will be born during the flu season.  

If you are the parent of a child aged 2 or 3 years, don’t forget that they are also eligible for the flu vaccine and this can be booked via your GP – the nasal spray will help prevent hospitalisations, reduce the spread of flu in the community and avoid you having to juggle a sick child with work and other commitments.   

The NHS national booking system closes next week - make your appointment soon. After the national booking system has closed, eligible persons can still continue to speak to their GP, or alternatively a local pharmacist about getting their vaccination. 

You can help reduce the spread of these infections by avoiding mixing with others where possible when showing signs of a respiratory illness like flu and COVID-19, particularly those who are more vulnerable.

RSV surveillance up until end of week 48

RSV activity remains high in a number of indicators, as is expected at this time of the year, reflecting high activity in children aged under 5 years.

The overall positivity (among people with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories) was 12.8%, with the highest positivity in those aged under 5 years at 37.9%.

Emergency department attendances for acute bronchiolitis and RSV hospital admissions remained high, primarily due to cases in children aged under 5 years.

There is information and advice on bronchiolitis on the NHS website.

Dr Conall Watson, Consultant Epidemiologist at UKHSA, said:

RSV is continuing at high seasonal levels, as is expected at this time of the year. Many young children are needing NHS care for RSV lung infections, and admissions are increasing in older adults. UKHSA continues to monitor RSV activity closely.

RSV infections are usually mild but can cause breathing difficulties in babies and the elderly. Initial symptoms in infants are similar to a cold but can go on to include breathing more quickly or noisily and having difficulties feeding. 

You can protect yourself and others by washing your hands regularly, using a tissue to catch coughs or sneezes and washing your hands afterwards, and staying away from others if you feel unwell. RSV is another reason why babies need protection from tobacco smoke as this is linked with more severe RSV infections.

Norovirus up until the end of week 47

Since week 44 of the 2023 to 2024 season, the number of norovirus lab reports has been increasing, particularly in children aged 0 to 4 years. However, the total number of norovirus laboratory reports during weeks 46 and 47 was 16% lower than the 5-season average for the same 2-week period.

Overall, the number of reported enteric virus (EV) outbreaks has been increasing since week 43, although the total number of EV outbreaks reported during weeks 46 and 47 remained lower than the 5-season average for the same 2-week period. The majority of reported EV outbreaks occurred in care home settings (71%).

Dr Lesley Larkin, Interim Deputy Director, Gastrointestinal Infections and Food Safety (One Health) Division at UKHSA, said:

While reports of norovirus cases have been rising across all age groups, in recent weeks the increase has been highest in children aged 0 to 4 years. As norovirus activity increases it’s important we take steps to try and stop it spreading. If you or a family member have been sick with norovirus, you should avoid visiting hospitals and care homes, and not return to work, school or nursery, until 48 hours after your symptoms have stopped.

Using bleach-based products to clean surfaces will also help stop the virus from spreading. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration, which can result in hospitalisation, particularly for the most vulnerable.

Friday 1 December 2023

Flu surveillance up until end of week 47

Most indicators show that flu activity has remained stable and within baseline levels this week.

Influenza positivity remained stable at 1.8% in week 47 compared to 1.8% in the previous week. This refers to the percentage of people who test positive among those with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories, reported through the Respiratory DataMart surveillance system.

Hospital admissions, including intensive care unit (ICU) and high dependency unit (HDU) admissions, remained within baseline levels this week.

The overall flu hospital admission for this week remained low at 0.50 per 100,000 population, compared to 0.39 per 100,000 last week.

Those aged 75 to 84 years have the highest level of hospital admissions this week with a rate of 1.69 per 100,000 population.

The provisional proportion of people in England who have received the 2023 to 2024 influenza vaccine in targeted groups is as follows:

  • 75.2% in all aged 65 years and over – comparable to the equivalent week in the 2022 to 2023 season
  • 39.1% in all aged 3 years – higher compared to the equivalent week in the 2022 to 2023 season
  • 39.5% in all aged 2 years – higher compared to the equivalent week in the 2022 to 2023 season
  • 37.0% in those aged under 65 years in a clinical risk group – lower compared to the equivalent week in the 2022 to 2023 season
  • 26.8% in all pregnant women – lower compared to the equivalent week in the 2022 to 2023 season

COVID-19 surveillance up until end of week 47

COVID-19 activity decreased in almost all indicators this week.

COVID-19 positivity decreased to 5.0% in week 47 compared to 5.8% in the previous week. This refers to the percentage of people who test positive among those with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories, reported through the Respiratory DataMart surveillance system.

COVID-19 hospitalisations decreased to 2.5 per 100,000 population this week compared to 2.7 per 100,000 in the previous week. Hospitalisations were highest in the 85 years and over age group at 25.3 per 100,000 population.

COVID-19 case rates and positivity rates through Pillar 1 decreased in most age groups, regions and ethnic groups in this week with a weekly mean positivity rate of 7.4% compared to 8.1% in the previous week.

ICU and HDU admission rates for this week’s report remained low and stable.

Hospital admission rates have continued to decrease in most age groups.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 were highest in London at 3.54 per 100,000 population this week.

A total of 7,624,286 people aged 65 and over in England have been vaccinated with an autumn 2023 COVID-19 booster dose since 1 September 2023, totalling 68.3% of that population.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Director of Public Health Programmes at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

Over half of those aged under 65 years in a clinical risk group, and over two-thirds of pregnant women have not yet come forward for their flu vaccine this winter. Getting vaccinated as soon as possible will help reduce your risk of getting seriously ill with flu or COVID-19 this festive season. The vaccines can take a week or two to provide maximum protection so get booked in now to keep your Christmas plans on track.

You can help reduce the spread of these infections by avoiding mixing with others where possible when showing signs of a respiratory illness like flu and COVID-19, particularly those who are more vulnerable.

Norovirus surveillance up until end of week 46

Since week 44 of the 2023/2024 season, the number of norovirus laboratory reports has increased. However, during weeks 45 and 46, the total number of norovirus laboratory reports was 20% lower than the 5-season average for the same 2-week period.

Overall, the number of reported enteric virus (EV) outbreaks has been increasing since week 43. However, the total number of EV outbreaks reported during weeks 45 and 46 remained lower than the 5-season average for the same 2-week period. The majority of reported EV outbreaks occurred in care home settings (66%).

Amy Douglas, Norovirus Epidemiologist at UKHSA, said:

As norovirus activity increases it’s important we take steps to try and stop it spreading. If you or a family member have been sick with norovirus, you should avoid visiting hospitals and care homes, and not return to work or school, until 48 hours after your symptoms have stopped.

Hand gels do not kill norovirus, so handwashing with soap and warm water is best. Using bleach-based products to clean surfaces will also help stop the virus from spreading.

Make sure to drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration, which can result in hospitalisation, particularly for the most vulnerable.

RSV surveillance up until end of week 47

RSV activity remains high in a number of indicators, as is expected at this time of the year, reflecting high activity in children aged below 5 years of age.

The overall positivity (among people with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories) was 13.0%, with the highest positivity in those aged under 5 years at 37.2%.

Emergency department attendances for acute bronchiolitis and RSV hospital admissions remained high, primarily due to cases in children under 5 years of age.

Dr Conall Watson, Consultant Epidemiologist at UKHSA, said:

RSV is continuing at high seasonal levels, as is expected at this time of the year. Many young children are needing NHS care for RSV lung infections, and admissions are increasing in older adults. UKHSA continues to monitor RSV activity closely.

RSV infections are usually mild but can cause breathing difficulties in babies and the elderly. Initial symptoms in infants are similar to a cold but can go on to include breathing more quickly or noisily and having difficulties feeding.

If your baby has a cold that is getting worse, or it is causing unusual breathing or problems feeding, call NHS 111 or contact your GP practice. As a parent, you should trust your own judgement and call 999 or go to A&E if your child seems seriously unwell.

You can protect yourself and others by washing your hands regularly, using a tissue to catch coughs or sneezes and washing your hands afterwards, and staying away from others if you feel unwell. RSV is another reason why babies need protection from tobacco smoke as this is linked with more severe RSV infections.

Friday 24 November 2023

The latest national flu and COVID-19 surveillance report, which includes respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) data, and national norovirus and rotavirus surveillance report, have been published along with the latest public health advice.

RSV surveillance up until end of week 46

The overall positivity (among people with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories) for RSV increased slightly to 12.5% with the highest positivity in those aged under 5 years at 38.7%.

Emergency departments attendances for acute bronchiolitis continued to increase nationally, as did hospital admission rates for RSV. Hospital admission rates for RSV among those under 5 years decreased.

Dr Conall Watson, Consultant Epidemiologist at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

RSV is a seasonal virus and cases in young children typically go up from October to a peak in late November or December. UKHSA surveillance suggests that while many young children are needing NHS assessment and care for conditions caused by RSV, case numbers may be showing some signs of stabilising compared to recent marked increases. We continue to monitor RSV activity closely.

RSV infections are usually mild but can cause breathing difficulties in babies and the elderly. Initial symptoms in infants are similar to a cold but can go on to include breathing more quickly or noisily and having difficulties feeding.

If your baby has a cold that is getting worse, or it is causing unusual breathing or problems feeding, call NHS 111 or contact your GP practice. As a parent, you should trust your own judgement and call 999 or go to A&E if your child seems seriously unwell.

You can protect yourself and others by washing your hands regularly, using a tissue to catch coughs or sneezes and washing your hands afterwards, and staying away from others if you feel unwell. RSV is another reason why babies need protection from tobacco smoke as this is linked with more severe RSV infections.

Flu surveillance up until end of week 46

Multiple indicators show that flu activity has remained stable and within baseline levels this week.

Influenza positivity remained stable at 1.8% in week 46 compared to 1.8% in the previous week. This refers to the percentage of people who test positive among those with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories, reported through the Respiratory DataMart surveillance system.

Hospital admissions, including intensive care unit (ICU) and high dependency unit (HDU) admissions, remained within baseline levels this week.

The overall flu hospital admission for this week remained low at 0.39 per 100,000 population, compared to 0.29 per 100,000 last week.

Children aged under 5 years continue to have the highest level of hospital admissions, but this has decreased this week to a rate of 0.92 per 100,000 population.

The provisional proportion of people in England who have received the 2023 to 2024 influenza vaccine in targeted groups is as follows:

  • 75.4% in all aged 65 years and over, and is higher compared to the equivalent week in the 2022 to 2023 season
  • 37.4% in all aged 3 years, and is higher compared to the equivalent week in the 2022 to 2023 season
  • 37.9% in all aged 2 years, and is comparable to the equivalent week in the 2022 to 2023 season
  • 36.8% in those aged under 65 years in a clinical risk group, and is lower compared to the equivalent week in the 2022 to 2023 season
  • 28.2% in all pregnant women, and is comparable to the equivalent week in the 2022 to 2023 season

COVID-19 surveillance up until end of week 46

COVID-19 activity decreased in almost all indicators this week.

COVID-19 positivity decreased to 5.8% in week 46 compared to 6.6% in the previous week. This refers to the percentage of people who test positive among those with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories, reported through the Respiratory DataMart surveillance system.

COVID-19 hospitalisations decreased to 2.7 per 100,000 population this week compared to 2.8 per 100,000 in the previous week. Hospitalisations were highest in the group of those aged 85 years and over at 25.9 per 100,000 population.

COVID-19 case rates and positivity rates through Pillar 1 decreased in most age groups, regions and ethnic groups in this week with a weekly mean positivity rate of 8.1% compared to 9.2% in the previous week.

ICU and HDU admission rates for this week’s report remained low and stable.

Hospital admission rates have continued to decrease in most age groups.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 are highest in the North West at 3.62 per 100,000 population this week.

A total of 7,482,634 people aged over 65 years in England have been vaccinated with an autumn 2023 COVID-19 booster dose since 1 September 2023, totalling 67.0% of that population.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Director of Public Health Programmes at UKHSA, said:

In our weekly surveillance report, flu levels remain stable. We continue to monitor the data closely, and we expect to see an increase in the coming weeks as we approach flu season. This week, once again we see a continued decrease in COVID-19 activity.

If you are showing signs of a respiratory illness, we advise avoiding mixing with others where possible, particularly those who are more vulnerable, to help stop the spread of viruses like flu and COVID-19.

Vaccination is the best protection against flu and COVID-19, get winter strong and book your flu and COVID-19 vaccinations online.

Norovirus surveillance up until end of week 44

During weeks 44 and 45, norovirus laboratory reports remained 31% lower than the 5-season average of the same period.

Overall, the total number of reported enteric virus (all suspected or confirmed as norovirus) outbreaks reported during weeks 44 and 45 remained lower than the 5-season average for the same 2-week period. The majority of outbreaks (56%) were in care home settings. From week 44 to 45 the number of outbreaks reported in educational settings more than doubled.

 Amy Douglas, Norovirus Epidemiologist at UKHSA, said:

It’s really important we take steps to try and stop the spread of norovirus. If you or a family member have been sick with norovirus, you should avoid visiting hospitals and care homes, and not return to work or school, until 48 hours after your symptoms have stopped.

Hand gels do not kill norovirus, so handwashing with soap and warm water is best. Using bleach-based products to clean surfaces will also help stop the virus from spreading.

Make sure to drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration which can result in hospitalisation, particularly for the most vulnerable.

Thursday 16 November 2023

The latest national flu and COVID-19 surveillance report, which includes respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) data, and national norovirus and rotavirus surveillance report, have been published along with the latest public health advice.

RSV surveillance up until end of week 45

There were some preliminary signs of stabilisation in RSV activity in those aged under 5 years after marked increases in recent weeks. 

Emergency departments attendances for acute bronchiolitis continued to increase nationally, as did hospital admission rates for RSV

The overall positivity (among people with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories) for RSV remained stable at 10.9%, with the highest positivity in those aged under 5 years at 36.3%.

 Dr Conall Watson, Consultant Epidemiologist at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

UKHSA surveillance this week continues to show that many young children are needing NHS assessment and care for conditions like bronchiolitis caused by RSV. RSV infections are usually mild but can cause breathing difficulties in babies and the elderly. Initial symptoms in infants are similar to a cold but can go on to include breathing more quickly or noisily and having difficulties feeding.

If your baby has a cold that is getting worse, or it is causing unusual breathing or problems feeding, call NHS 111 or contact your GP practice. As a parent, you should trust your own judgement and call 999 or go to A&E if your child seems seriously unwell.

You can protect yourself and others by washing your hands regularly, using a tissue to catch coughs or sneezes and washing your hands afterwards, and staying away from others if you feel unwell. RSV is another reason why babies need protection from tobacco smoke as this is linked with more severe RSV infections.

Flu surveillance up until end of week 45

Flu activity remained largely stable this week, although some indicators suggest slight increases in flu diagnoses among school-aged children. There were no increases in emergency department attendances or hospital admissions for flu.

A total of 1.8% of 5,044 respiratory specimens reported through the Respiratory DataMart System were identified as flu. This remains stable when compared to the previous week where 1.4% of 4,424 specimens were found to be flu.

The overall flu hospital admission for this week remained low at 0.29 per 100,000 population, compared to 0.39 per 100,000 last week.

Flu intensive care unit (ICU) admission rates remain at baseline levels.

Children aged under 5 years have the highest level of hospital admissions with a rate of 1.15 per 100,000 population.

The provisional proportion of people in England who have received the 2023 to 2024 influenza vaccine in targeted groups is as follows:

  • 74.2% in all aged 65 years and over
  • 35.4% in all aged 3 years
  • 36.1% in all aged 2 years
  • 35.4% in those aged under 65 years in a clinical risk group
  • 27.4% in all pregnant women

COVID-19 surveillance up until end of week 45

COVID-19 case rates have continued to decrease across almost all indicators.

A total of 6.6% of 5,093 respiratory specimens reported through the Respiratory DataMart System were identified as COVID-19. This is a decrease compared to the previous week where 7.6% of 4,362 specimens were found to be COVID-19.

Pillar 1 positivity for this week’s report is 9.2% positivity, resulting in 255 cases, a decrease from 11.0% positivity, resulting in 328 cases in the previous week.

The overall COVID-19 hospital admission rate is 2.84 per 100,000 population, a decrease from 3.45 per 100,000 in the previous week.

ICU and high dependency units (HDU) admission rates for this week’s report remained low and stable, at 0.12 per 100,000 population.

Hospital admission rates have continued to decrease in most age groups.

Those aged 85 years and over continue to have the highest hospital admission rates; these have continued to decrease this week to 29.52 per 100,000 population from 39.20 per 100,000 in the previous week.

Admission rates among those aged 75 to 84 years have also continued to decrease; this week, the data is 13.29 per 100,000 population compared to 15.37 per 100,000 in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 are highest in the North West at 4.18 per 100,000 population this week.

A total 65.8% (7,341,043 out of 11,164,326) of all people aged over 65 years who are living and resident in England have been vaccinated with an autumn 2023 COVID-19 booster dose since 1 September 2023.

Dr Jamie Lopez Bernal, Consultant Epidemiologist for Immunisation at UKHSA said:

Our weekly surveillance shows flu levels remain generally stable, although we are now starting to see a slight increase in cases among young children. We will continue to monitor these rates closely as we approach the winter period, where we expect to see a rise in prevalence. This week, once again we see a decrease in COVID-19 activity.

We remind people that if you are experiencing symptoms of a respiratory illness, you should avoid mixing with others where possible to stop the spread of viruses like flu and COVID-19.

Heading into winter, the flu vaccine continues to offer the best protection against what can be a very severe illness for the more vulnerable, including pregnant women as well as those aged 2 and 3 years who are all eligible for a free NHS vaccine. You can book your flu and COVID-19 vaccinations and check your eligibility online.

Norovirus surveillance up until end of week 44

Norovirus laboratory reports decreased in recent weeks and during the 2-week period of the 2023 to 2024 season (weeks 43 and 44) were 21% lower than the 5-season average of the same period.

Overall, the total number of reported enteric virus (all suspected or confirmed as norovirus) outbreaks reported during weeks 43 and 44 remained lower than the 5-season average for the same 2-week period. The majority of outbreaks (63%) were in care home settings.

 Amy Douglas, Norovirus Epidemiologist at UKHSA, said:

While norovirus cases are still low, we expect cases to rise as festive season gets underway. It’s really important we take steps to try and stop the spread. If you or a family member have been sick with norovirus, you should avoid visiting hospitals and care homes, and not return to work or school, until 48 hours after your symptoms have stopped.

Hand gels do not kill norovirus, so handwashing with soap and warm water is best. Using bleach-based products to clean surfaces will also help stop the virus from spreading.

Make sure to drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration which can result in hospitalisation, particularly for the most vulnerable.

Friday 10 November 2023

The latest national flu and COVID-19 surveillance report, which includes respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) data, and national norovirus and rotavirus surveillance report, have been published along with the latest public health advice.

RSV surveillance up until end of week 44

The overall positivity (among people with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories) for RSV increased to 10.7%, with the highest positivity in those aged under 5 years at 39.4%.

Emergency departments attendances for acute bronchiolitis continued to increase nationally, as well as hospital admission rates.

Dr Conall Watson, Consultant Epidemiologist at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

UKHSA surveillance shows that – as is expected as we head into winter – many young children are now needing NHS assessment and care for conditions like bronchiolitis caused by RSV. RSV infections are usually mild but can cause breathing difficulties in babies and the elderly. Initial symptoms in infants are similar to a cold but can go on to include breathing more quickly or noisily and having difficulties feeding.

If your baby has a cold that is getting worse, or it is causing unusual breathing or problems feeding, call NHS 111 or contact your GP practice. As a parent, you should trust your own judgement and call 999 or go to A&E if your child seems seriously unwell.

You can protect yourself and others by washing your hands regularly, using a tissue to catch coughs or sneezes and washing your hands afterwards, and staying away from others if you feel unwell. RSV is another reason why babies need protection from tobacco smoke as this is linked with more severe RSV infections.

Flu surveillance up until end of week 44

Multiple indicators show that flu remained stable across most indicators.

A total 1.4% of 4,424 respiratory specimens reported through the Respiratory DataMart System were identified as flu. This remains stable when compared to the previous week where 1.3% of 5,230 specimens were found to be flu.

The overall flu hospital admission for this week has risen to 0.39 per 100,000 population, compared to 0.22 per 100,000 last week.

Flu intensive care unit (ICU) admission rates remain at baseline levels.

Those aged 0 to 4 years have the highest level of hospital admissions with a rate of 1.28 per 100,000 population.

The provisional proportion of people in England who have received the 2023 to 2024 influenza vaccine in targeted groups is as follows:

  • 72.5% in all aged 65 years and over
  • 33.2% in all aged 3 years
  • 35.1% in all aged 2 years
  • 33.4% in those aged under 65 years in a clinical risk group
  • 25.6% in all pregnant women

COVID-19 surveillance up until end of week 44

Multiple indicators show that COVID-19 case rates have continued to decrease in almost all indicators.

A total 7.6% of 4,362 respiratory specimens reported through the Respiratory DataMart System were identified as COVID-19. This is a decrease compared to the previous week where 8.7% of 5,350 specimens were found to be COVID-19.

Pillar 1 positivity for this week’s report is 11.0% positivity, resulting in 328 cases, a decrease from 12.5% positivity, resulting in 403 cases in the previous week.

The overall COVID-19 hospital admission rate is 3.45 per 100,000 population, a decrease from 4.04 per 100,000 in the previous week.

ICU admission rates for this week’s report remained low and stable, at 0.03 per 100,000 population.

Hospital admission rates have decreased further in most age groups, except those ages 5 to 44 where they have continued to remain low and stable.

Those aged 85 years and over continue to have the highest hospital admission rates; these have continued to decrease this week to 39.20 per 100,000 population from 47.52 per 100,000 in the previous week.

Admission rates among those aged 75 to 84 years have also continued to decrease, this week the data is 15.37 per 100,000 population compared to 17.84 per 100,000 in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 are highest in the North West at 4.16 per 100,000 population this week.

A total 63.2% (7,050,519 out of 11,164,326) of all people aged over 65 years who are living and resident in England have been vaccinated with an autumn 2023 COVID-19 booster dose since 1 September 2023.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Director of Public Health Programmes at UKHSA, said: 

Our weekly surveillance shows flu levels remain stable, but in the coming weeks as we approach winter, we expect this to change and will continue to monitor these rates closely. This week once again we see a decrease in COVID-19 infection rates.

We remind people that if you show signs of respiratory symptoms, you should avoid mixing with others where possible to stop the spread of viruses like flu and COVID-19.

Getting vaccinated before we reach peak flu season offers the best protection. We are beginning to see hospitalisations for flu among children under 5, and some children can become severely ill from flu. Most children aged 2 and 3 can get a nasal spray flu vaccine. You can book your flu and COVID-19 vaccination, and check your eligibility online.

Norovirus surveillance up until end of week 43

Norovirus laboratory reports have remained low in recent weeks. During the 2-week period of the 2023 to 2024 season (weeks 42 and 43), they were 12% lower than the 5-season average of the same period.

Overall, the total number of reported enteric virus (all suspected or confirmed as norovirus) outbreaks reported during weeks 42 and 43 remained lower than the 5-season average for the same 2-week period. The majority of outbreaks (53%) were in care home settings.

Amy Douglas, Norovirus Epidemiologist at UKHSA, said:

While norovirus cases are still low, we expect levels to rise as we head into winter. It’s really important we take steps to try and stop the spread. If you or a family member have been sick with norovirus, you should avoid visiting hospitals and care homes, and not return to work or school, until 48 hours after your symptoms have stopped.

Hand gels do not kill norovirus, so handwashing with soap and warm water is best. Using bleach-based products to clean surfaces will also help stop the virus from spreading.

Make sure to drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration which can result in hospitalisation, particularly for the most vulnerable.

Friday 3 November 2023

The latest national flu and COVID-19 surveillance report, which includes respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) data, and national norovirus and rotavirus surveillance report, have been published along with the latest public health advice.

RSV surveillance up until end of week 43

The overall positivity (amongst people with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories) for RSV increased to 8.7%, with the highest positivity in those aged under 5 years at 34.1%.

Emergency departments attendances for acute bronchiolitis continued to increase nationally, as well as hospital admission rates.

Dr Conall Watson, Consultant Epidemiologist at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

UKHSA surveillance this week is showing further increases in RSV and RSV bronchiolitis in young children in laboratory testing and hospital emergency departments. While usually mild, RSV infection can cause breathing difficulties in babies and the elderly. Initial symptoms in infants are similar to a cold but can go on to include breathing more quickly or noisily and having difficulties feeding.

If your baby has a cold that is getting worse, or it is causing unusual breathing or problems feeding, call NHS 111 or contact your GP practice. As a parent, you should trust your own judgement and call 999 or go to A&E if your child seems seriously unwell.

You can protect yourself and others by washing your hands regularly, using a tissue to catch coughs or sneezes and washing your hands afterwards, and staying away from others if you feel unwell. RSV is another reason why babies need protection from tobacco smoke as this is linked with more severe RSV infections.

Flu surveillance up until end of week 43

Multiple indicators show that flu case rates this week remained stable.

Through Respiratory DataMart, influenza positivity remained stable at 1.3% this week, compared to 1.2% last week.

The overall flu hospital admission for this week was 0.22 per 100,000 population, a slight increase from 0.11 per 100,000 last week.

Flu intensive care unit (ICU) admission rates remain at baseline levels.

Those aged 85 years and over have the highest level of hospital admissions with a rate of 1.01 per 100,000 population.

The provisional proportion of people in England who have received the 2023 to 2024 influenza vaccine in targeted groups is as follows:

  • 68.5% in all aged 65 years and over
  • 29.7% in all aged 3 years
  • 30.7% in all aged 2 years
  • 29.4% in those aged under 65 years in a clinical risk group
  • 23.0% in all pregnant women

COVID-19 surveillance up until end of week 43

Multiple indicators show that COVID-19 case rates have decreased compared to the previous week.

A total 8.7% of 5,350 respiratory specimens reported through the Respiratory DataMart System were identified as COVID-19. This is a decrease compared to the previous week where 10.1% of 5,206 specimens were found to be COVID-19.

Pillar 1 positivity for this week’s report is 12.5% positivity, resulting in 403 cases, a decrease from 13.5% positivity, resulting in 528 cases in the previous week.

The overall COVID-19 hospital admission rate is 4.04 per 100,000 population, a decrease from 4.62 per 100,000 in the previous week.

ICU admission rates for this week’s report remained low and stable, at 0.03 per 100,000 population.

Hospital admission rates have decreased in most age groups, except 2. We have seen slight increases in those aged under 5 years, and those aged 55 to 64 years.

Those aged 85 years and over continue to have the highest hospital admission rates; these have decreased to 47.52 per 100,000 population from 48.25 per 100,000 in the previous week.

Admission rates among those aged 75 to 84 years have decreased to 17.84 per 100,000 population from 23.77 per 100,000 in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 are highest in the West Midlands at 5.67 per 100,000 population this week.

A total 61.0% (6,807,130 out of 11,164,326) of all people aged over 65 years who are living and resident in England have been vaccinated with an autumn 2023 COVID-19 booster dose since 1 September 2023.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Director of Public Health Programmes at UKHSA, said: 

In this week’s surveillance report, flu activity currently remains stable but as we approach the winter season we expect to see rates increase over the next few weeks. We continue to monitor rates closely and remind people that when you show signs of respiratory symptoms, you should avoid mixing with others where possible – this will help to combat the spread of viruses like flu and COVID-19. COVID-19 infection rates continue to decrease.

We launched our ‘get winter strong’ campaign this week, targeting those eligible but still unvaccinated to come forward and join the millions protected ahead of the festive season. It is always best to get vaccinated before we reach peak flu season and see a possible increase in COVID-19 cases throughout the colder months. Book your flu and COVID-19 vaccination online while cases remain low, as this will give you the best protection against flu and COVID-19.

You can also use the NHS website to check if you are eligible for either, or both vaccines. If you have had any changes in your health or recently begun to live, care or work with vulnerable people it might be worth checking to see if you are eligible.

Norovirus surveillance up until end of week 42

Norovirus laboratory reports decreased in recent weeks and during the 2-week period of the 2023 to 2024 season (weeks 41 and 42) were 20% lower than the 5-season average of the same period.

Overall, the total number of reported enteric virus (all suspected or confirmed as norovirus) outbreaks reported during weeks 41 and 42 remained lower than the 5-season average for the same 2-week period. The majority of outbreaks (66%) were in care home settings.

Amy Douglas, Norovirus Epidemiologist at UKHSA, said:

While norovirus cases are still low, we expect levels to rise as we head into winter. It’s really important we take steps to try and stop the spread. If you or a family member have been sick with norovirus, you should avoid visiting hospitals and care homes, and not return to work or school, until 48 hours after your symptoms have stopped.

Hand gels do not kill norovirus, so handwashing with soap and warm water is best. Using bleach-based products to clean surfaces will also help stop the virus from spreading.

Make sure to drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration which can result in hospitalisation, particularly for the most vulnerable.

Friday 27 October 2023

The latest national flu and COVID-19 surveillance report, which includes respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) data, and national norovirus and rotavirus surveillance report, have been published along with the latest public health advice.

RSV surveillance up until end of week 42

The overall positivity* for RSV increased to 5.8%, with the highest positivity in those aged under 5 years at 25.0%. Emergency departments attendances for acute bronchiolitis continued to increase nationally, as well as hospital admission rates.

*among people with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories, reported through the Respiratory Datamart surveillance system

Dr Conall Watson, Consultant Epidemiologist at UKHSA, said:

UKHSA surveillance this week is showing further increases in RSV and RSV bronchiolitis in young children, leading to an increase in hospital admissions. While usually mild, RSV infection can cause breathing difficulties in babies and the elderly. Initial symptoms in infants are similar to a cold but can go on to include breathing more quickly or noisily and having difficulties feeding.

If your baby has a cold that is getting worse, or it is causing unusual breathing or problems feeding, call NHS 111 or contact your GP practice. As a parent, you should trust your own judgement and call 999 or go to A&E if your child seems seriously unwell.

You can protect yourself and others by washing your hands regularly, using a tissue to catch coughs or sneezes and washing your hands afterwards, and staying away from others if you feel unwell. RSV is another reason why babies need protection from tobacco smoke as this is linked with more severe RSV infections.

COVID-19 surveillance up until end of week 42

Multiple indicators show that COVID-19 case rates have decreased compared to the previous week.

A total of 10.1% of 5,206 respiratory specimens reported through the Respiratory DataMart System were identified as COVID-19. A decrease compared to 10.9% of 4,751 from the previous week.

Pillar 1 positivity for this week’s report is 13.5% positivity, resulting in 528 cases, a decrease from 16.7% positivity, resulting in 623 cases in the previous week.

The overall COVID-19 hospital admission rate is 4.62 per 100,000 population, a decrease from 5.25 per 100,000 in the previous week.

Intensive care unit (ICU) admission rates for this week’s report remained stable, staying at 0.16 per 100,000 population and continue to remain low.

Hospital admission rates have decreased in all age groups, except the group of those aged 45 to 54 years, who have remained stable.

Those aged 85 years and over continue to have the highest hospital admission rates; these have decreased to 48.25 per 100,000 population from 55.59 per 100,000 in the previous week.

Admission rates among those aged 75 to 84 years have decreased to 23.77 per 100,000 population from 26.14 per 100,000 in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 are highest in the West Midlands at 7.00 per 100,000 population this week.

A total of 55.1% (6,146,673 out of 11,164,326) of all people aged over 65 years who are living and resident in England have been vaccinated with an autumn 2023 COVID-19 booster dose since 1 September 2023.

Flu surveillance up until end of week 42

Multiple indicators show that flu case rates this week remained stable.

Through Respiratory DataMart, influenza positivity remained stable, staying at 1.2% this week.

The overall flu hospital admission for this week was 0.11 per 100,000 population, a slight decrease from 0.17 per 100,000 last week.

Flu ICU admission rates remain at baseline levels.

Those aged 85 years and over have the highest level of hospital admissions with a rate of 0.48 per 100,000 population.

The provisional proportion of people in England who have received the 2023 to 2024 influenza vaccine in targeted groups is as follows:

  • 65.2% in all aged 65 years and over
  • 26.9% in all aged 2 years
  • 25.8% in all aged 3 years
  • 26.8% in those aged under 65 years in a clinical risk group
  • 20.2% in all pregnant women

Dr Mary Ramsay, Director of Public Health Programmes at UKHSA, said: 

This week’s surveillance report shows a continued decrease in COVID-19 infection rates and flu activity remains stable. We continue to monitor rates closely and remind people that when you have respiratory symptoms, you should avoid mixing with others as this helps to combat the spread of viruses like COVID-19 and flu.

This is the best time to get vaccinated before we see the peak flu season and the anticipated rise in COVID-19 cases throughout the colder months. Those eligible can book their flu and COVID-19 vaccination online.

If you are aged 65 years or over, have certain health conditions or a learning disability, are pregnant or if you care, work, or live with vulnerable people you may be eligible for both flu and COVID-19 vaccines. A quick and painless nasal flu vaccine is available children aged 2 to 3 years from their GP, while primary and secondary school aged children can receive theirs at school with a signed consent form.

Norovirus surveillance up until end of week 41

Norovirus laboratory reports decreased in recent weeks and during the 2-week period of the 2023 to 2024 season (weeks 40 and 41) were 23% lower than the 5-season average of the same period.

Overall, the total number of reported enteric virus (all suspected or confirmed as norovirus) outbreaks reported during weeks 40 and 41 remained lower than the 5-season average for the same 2-week period. The majority of outbreaks were in care home settings.

Amy Douglas, Norovirus Epidemiologist at UKHSA, said:

While norovirus cases are still low, we expect levels to rise as we head into winter. It’s really important we take steps to try and stop the spread. If you or a family member have been sick with norovirus, you should avoid visiting hospitals and care homes, and not return to work or school, until 48 hours after your symptoms have stopped.

Hand gels do not kill norovirus, so handwashing with soap and warm water is best. Using bleach-based products to clean surfaces will also help stop the virus from spreading.

Make sure to drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration which can result in hospitalisation, particularly for the most vulnerable.

Pneumococcal vaccine

The pneumococcal vaccine is also available for those aged 65 years and over. The vaccine helps protect against a common bacterial infection that can cause serious illnesses like:

  • pneumonia (an infection in the lungs which often occurs after a bout of flu)
  • meningitis (an infection in the brain and spinal cord)
  • sepsis (a life-threatening reaction to an infection)

 It can also help protect against other illnesses such as sinusitis and ear infections.

You can contact your GP surgery for further information, and to book the pneumococcal vaccine.

Thursday 19 October

This weekly flu and COVID-19 report brings together the latest surveillance data along with the latest public health advice.

COVID-19 surveillance up until end of week 41

Multiple indicators show that COVID-19 case rates have slightly decreased compared to the previous week.

A total of 10.9% of 4,751 respiratory specimens reported through the Respiratory DataMart System were identified as COVID-19. A decrease compared to 12.0% of 3,848 from the previous report.

Pillar 1 positivity for this week’s report is 16.7% with 623 cases, a decrease from 17.5% with 552 in the previous week.

The overall COVID-19 hospital admission rate is 5.25 per 100,000 population, a decrease from 6.13 per 100,000 in the previous week.

Intensive care unit (ICU) admission rates for this week’s report are 0.14 per 100,000 population and continue to remain low. This is a decrease from 0.20 per 100,000 from the previous week.

Hospital admission rates have decreased in all age groups, except the group of those aged 5 to 14 years, who have remained stable.

Those aged 85 years and over continue to have the highest hospital admission rates; these have decreased to 55.59 per 100,000 population from 62.72 per 100,000 in the previous week.

Admission rates among those aged 75 to 84 years have decreased to 26.14 per 100,000 population from 30.04 per 100,000 in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 continue to be the highest in the South West, but decreasing to 7.85 per 100,000 population this week.

A total 46.8% (5,222,091 out of 11,164,326) of all people aged over 65 years who are living and resident in England have been vaccinated with an autumn 2023 booster dose since 1 September 2023.

New analysis by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) indicates that the autumn 2022 booster programme prevented an estimated 14,400 hospitalisations.

Flu surveillance up until end of week 41

Multiple indicators show that flu case rates remain low and stable.

Through Respiratory DataMart, influenza positivity increased slightly to 1.5% in week 41 compared to 1.4% in the previous week.

The overall flu hospital admission for this week was 0.17 per 100,000 population, a decrease from 0.13 per 100,000 from the previous week.

Flu ICU admission rates remain at baseline levels.

Those aged 0 to 4 continue to have the highest level of hospital admissions with a rate of 0.64 per 100,000 population.

The provisional proportion of people in England who have received the 2023 to 2024 influenza vaccine in targeted groups is as follows:

  • 57.0% in all aged 65 years and over
  • 23.2% in all aged 2 years
  • 21.4% in all aged 3 years
  • 21.8% in those aged under 65 years in a clinical risk group
  • 16.5% in all pregnant women

Dr Mary Ramsay, Director of Public Health Programmes at UKHSA, said: 

This week’s surveillance report shows a small decrease in COVID-19 infection rates and low levels of flu activity.

Now is a great time to get winter strong and protect yourself before the anticipated rise in cases through the colder months. We will continue to monitor rates closely and remind people that when you have respiratory symptoms you should avoid mixing with others, especially those who are particularly vulnerable.

It is great to see even more people come forward for both their COVID-19 and flu jabs this week. You can now book a flu vaccination online, the same way you would with the COVID-19 vaccine. You don’t have to wait for an invitation from your GP or the NHS before booking an appointment.

Young children continue to be the age group with the highest rates of hospitalisation with flu. Young children aged 2 to 3 years are eligible for a simple nasal spray flu vaccine, and you can help protect yourself and your child even before birth by getting vaccinated while you are pregnant. The flu vaccine is the best protection against serious illness and hospitalisation.

RSV surveillance up until end of week 41

The overall positivity* for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) increased slightly to 4.3%, with the highest positivity in those aged under 5 years at 19.6%.

*among people with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories, reported through the Respiratory Datamart surveillance system

Dr Conall Watson, Consultant Epidemiologist at UKHSA, said:

As expected at this time of year, we are starting to see a rise in RSV infections in young children. While usually mild, the infection can cause breathing difficulties for babies and the elderly. Initial symptoms in infants are similar to a cold, but can go on to include breathing more quickly or noisily and having difficulties eating. If your baby has a cold that is getting worse, or it is causing unusual breathing or problems feeding, call NHS 111 or contact your GP practice. As a parent, you should trust your own judgement and call 999 or go to A&E if your child seems seriously unwell such as difficulty breathing, having blue or grey lips, or if they are floppy and will not wake up or stay awake.

You can protect yourself and others by washing your hands regularly, using a tissue to catch coughs or sneezes and washing your hands afterwards, and staying away from others if you feel unwell. It is also important to not smoke around babies.

Norovirus surveillance up until end of week 40

Norovirus laboratory reports decreased in recent weeks and during the 2-week period of the 2023/2024 season (weeks 39 and 40) were 23% lower than the 5-season average of the same period.

Overall, the total number of reported enteric virus (including norovirus) outbreaks reported during weeks 39 and 40 remained lower than the 5-season average for the same 2-week period. The majority of outbreaks were in educational settings.

Amy Douglas, Norovirus Epidemiologist at UKHSA, said:

While norovirus cases are still low, we expect levels to rise as we head into winter. Outbreaks in schools have already started to increase. It’s really important we take steps to try and stop the spread. If you or a family member have been sick with norovirus, you should avoid visiting hospitals and care homes, and not return to work or school, until 48 hours after your symptoms have stopped.

Hand gels do not kill norovirus, so handwashing with soap and warm water is best. Using bleach-based products to clean surfaces will also help stop the virus from spreading.

Make sure to drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration, which can result in hospitalisation, particularly for the most vulnerable.

Pneumococcal vaccine

The pneumococcal vaccine is also available for those aged 65 and over. The vaccine helps protect against a common bacterial infection that can cause serious illnesses like:

  • pneumonia (an infection in the lungs which often occurs after a bout of flu)
  • meningitis (an infection in the brain and spinal cord)
  • sepsis (a life-threatening reaction to an infection)

 It can also help protect against other illnesses such as sinusitis and ear infections.

You can contact your GP surgery for further information, and to book the pneumococcal vaccine.

Friday 13 October 2023

‘Come forward now for vaccination’ urges UKHSA

This fortnightly flu and COVID-19 report brings together the latest surveillance data along with the latest public health advice.

With early signs of COVID-19 rates increasing and new data showing the 2022 autumn booster prevented over 14,000 hospitalisations, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is urging those eligible to come forward now for vaccination.

COVID-19 surveillance up until end of week 40

Multiple indicators show that COVID-19 case rates have slightly increased compared to our previous report.

A total of 12.0% of 3,848 respiratory specimens reported through the Respiratory DataMart System were identified as COVID-19. An increase compared to 10.4% of 4,898 from the previous report.

Pillar 1 positivity for this week’s report is 17.5%, an increase from 14.4% in our previous report.

The overall COVID-19 hospital admission rate was 6.13 per 100,000 population, an increase from 4.36 per 100,000 from the previous report.

Intensive care unit (ICU) admission rates for this week’s report were 0.20 per 100,000 population, an increase from 0.11 per 100,000 in the previous report, but these levels remain low.

Hospital admission rates have increased in all age groups, except 5- to 14-year-olds, which has decreased.

Those aged 85 years and over continue to have the highest hospital admission rates; these have increased to 62.72 per 100,000 population from 44.86 per 100,000 in the previous report.

Admission rates among those aged 75 to 84 years have increased to 30.04 per 100,000 population from 20.20 per 100,000 in the previous report.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 are highest in the South West, with a rate of 9.57 per 100,000 population.

A total 35.3% (3,942,129 out of 11,164,326) of all people aged over 65 years old who are living and resident in England had been vaccinated with an autumn 2023 booster dose since 1 September 2023.

New analysis by UKHSA indicates that the autumn 2022 booster programme prevented an estimated 14,400 hospitalisations.

Flu surveillance up until end of week 40

Some indicators show a slight increase in flu case rates, while others indicate rates have remained stable.

Through Respiratory DataMart, influenza positivity increased slightly to 1.4% in week 40 compared to 0.8% in the previous week.

The overall flu hospital admission rate was 0.13 per 100,000 population, remaining stable from 0.11 per 100,000 from the previous week.

Flu ICU admission rates remain at baseline levels.

Those aged 0 to 4 have the highest level of hospital admissions with a rate of 0.67 per 100,000 population.

The provisional proportion of people in England who had received the 2023 to 2024 influenza vaccine in targeted groups was as follows:

  • 45.3% in all 65-year-olds and over
  • 17.9% in all 2-year-olds
  • 16.4% in all 3-year-olds
  • 16.1% in under 65 years in a clinical risk group
  • 12.5% in all pregnant women

Dr Mary Ramsay, Director of Public Health Programmes at UKHSA, said: 

This week’s surveillance indicates a slight increase in COVID-19 infection rates. As we enter the colder months and people begin to mix more indoors, we can expect to see further increases in COVID-19 alongside the usual increases we see in other winter respiratory viruses like flu. We are monitoring rates closely and reminding people that when you have respiratory symptoms you should avoid mixing with others, especially those more vulnerable.

New UKHSA surveillance published today shows the autumn 2022 COVID-19 booster prevented around 14,400 people having to be hospitalised. This shows clearly the overwhelming benefits for those most vulnerable in getting their COVID-19 jab as soon as possible this autumn.

It’s reassuring to see that 35.3% of those aged 65 and older have already taken up the offer of a COVID-19 jab.

And our flu campaign this autumn has got off to a great start with vaccination rates across all at-risk groups up on last year.

Heading into winter the flu vaccine offers the best protection against what can be a very severe illness for the more vulnerable, which includes pregnant women as well as 2 and 3 year olds who are all eligible for a free NHS vaccine. Tragically every year we see far too many unvaccinated young children severely ill with flu being hospitalised.

We strongly urge parents and all those eligible, for either COVID-19 and flu vaccines or both, to book today with the NHS or via their GP surgery as soon as possible.

RSV surveillance up until end of week 40

The overall positivity for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) increased slightly to 3.3%, with the highest positivity in those aged under 5 years old at 14.9%. Emergency department attendances for acute bronchiolitis increased nationally.

Dr Conall Watson, Consultant Epidemiologist at UKHSA, said:

As expected at this time of year, we are starting to see a rise in RSV infections in young children. While usually mild, the infection can cause breathing difficulties for babies and the elderly. Initial symptoms in infants are similar to a cold, but can go on to include breathing more quickly or noisily and having difficulties eating.  

If your baby has a cold that is getting worse, or it is causing unusual breathing or problems feeding, call NHS 111 or contact your GP practice. As a parent you should trust your own judgement and call 999 or go to A&E if your child seems seriously unwell such as difficulty breathing, having blue or grey lips, or if they are floppy and will not wake up or stay awake.

You can protect yourself and others by washing your hands regularly, using a tissue to catch coughs or sneezes and washing your hands afterwards, and staying away from others if you feel unwell. It is also important to not smoke around babies.

Thursday 28 September 2023

This fortnightly flu and COVID-19 report brings together the latest surveillance data along with the latest public health advice.

COVID-19 surveillance up until end of week 38

Multiple indicators show that COVID-19 case rates have remained stable compared to our previous report.

A total 10.4% of 4,898 respiratory specimens reported through the Respiratory DataMart System were identified as COVID-19. This is compared to 10.2% of 3,297 from the previous report.

The overall COVID-19 hospital admission rate remained stable at 4.36 per 100,000 population, compared to 4.56 per 100,000 from the previous report.

Intensive care units’ (ICU) admission rates for this week’s report were 0.14 per 100,000 population, continuing to remain low and stable from 0.11 per 100,000 from the previous report.

Hospital admission rates for those aged 5 to 14 years and those aged 45 years and over have all decreased, while those aged 0 to 4 years and 15 to 44 years have remained stable.

Those aged 85 years and over continue to have the highest hospital admission rates; these have decreased to 44.86 per 100,000 population from 51.08 per 100,000 in the previous report. Admission rates among those aged 75 to 84 years have decreased to 20.20 per 100,000 population from 21.19 per 100,000 in the previous report.

Dr Jamie Lopez Bernal, Consultant Epidemiologist for Immunisation at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

In this week’s report, we see multiple indicators point to the stabilisation of COVID-19 rates. We have also seen a decrease in hospitalisation in those aged over 75 compared to 2 weeks ago since our last report. While this is good news, we will continue to remain vigilant and monitor rates closely.

The NHS booking system for the COVID-19 vaccine is now live. We urge everyone eligible to come forward to boost their protection, and to keep the vulnerable around them safe this winter. Vaccination continues to provide the best protection against serious illness and hospitalisation from COVID-19.

Thursday 14 September 2023

This fortnightly flu and COVID-19 report brings together the latest surveillance data along with the latest public health advice.

COVID-19 surveillance up until end of week 36

COVID-19 case rates have increased slightly compared to our previous report.

A total 10.2% of 3,297 respiratory specimens reported through the Respiratory DataMart System were identified as COVID-19. This is compared to 9.7% of 4,288 from the previous report.

Positivity for pillar one laboratory confirmed cases for this week’s report was 16.0 per 100,000 population, an increase from 12.5 per 100,000 in our previous report.

The overall COVID-19 hospital admission rate for week 36 was 4.56 per 100,000 population, an increase from 3.37 per 100,000 in the previous report.

Intensive care units (ICU) admission rates have remained stable at 0.11 per 100,000 population since the previous report.

Hospital admission rates have increased in all age groups except in those aged 15 to 24 years.

Those aged 85 years and over continue to have the highest hospital admission rates; these have increased to 51.08 per 100,000 population from 34.15 per 100,000 in the previous report. Admission rates among those aged 75 to 84 years have increased to 21.19 per 100,000 population from 17.66 per 100,000 in the previous report.

Dr Gavin Dabrera, Deputy Director of COVID-19 Vaccines and Epidemiology at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

We continue to see an increase in COVID-19 cases in this week’s report. While hospital admissions have also continued to rise, ICU admissions remain low and stable. We will continue to monitor rates closely.

This week marks the start of the 2023 autumn vaccine roll out, starting with care homes. Over the coming weeks more eligible groups will be invited to get protected. We urge everyone eligible to come forward when offered as the vaccine continues to provide the best protection against serious illness and hospitalisation from COVID-19.

Thursday 31 August 2023

This fortnightly flu and COVID-19 report brings together the latest surveillance data along with the latest public health advice.

COVID-19 surveillance up until end of week 34

COVID-19 case rates continued to increase this week compared to our previous report. A total 9.7% of 4,288 respiratory specimens reported through the Respiratory DataMart System were identified as COVID-19. This is compared to 7.1% of 4,303 from the previous report.

The overall COVID-19 hospital admission rate for week 34 was 3.37 per 100,000 population, an increase from 3.00 per 100,000 in the previous report.

Intensive care units (ICU) admission rates have increased to 0.11 per 100,000 compared to 0.08 per 100,000 in the previous report.

Hospital admission rates have increased in most age groups.

Those aged 85 years and over continue to have the highest hospital admission rates; these have increased to 34.15 per 100,000 from 32.63 per 100,000 in the previous report. Admission rates among those aged 75 to 84 years have increased to 17.66 per 100,000 from 15.71 per 100,000 in the previous report.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

Over the last 2 weeks, we have seen an increase in some COVID-19 indicators. This includes hospital admissions and ICU admissions, but these have all stabilised over the last week. While case rates have continued to rise, rates remain low overall, and we will continue to monitor them closely.

If you are experiencing any symptoms of respiratory illness, you should avoid mixing with other people, especially those who are vulnerable. This will help combat the spread of COVID-19.

This week, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) announced that the winter vaccination programme has been brought forward as a precautionary measure to deliver greater protection against the potential impact of BA.2.86 variant. We urge everyone eligible to take up the vaccine when offered.

Thursday 17 August 2023

This fortnightly flu and COVID-19 report brings together the latest surveillance data along with the latest public health advice.

COVID-19 surveillance up until end of week 32

COVID-19 case rates continued to increase this week compared to our previous report. A total 7.1% of 4,303 respiratory specimens reported through the Respiratory DataMart System were identified as COVID-19. This is compared to 5.4% of 4,396 from the previous report.

Positivity for pillar one laboratory confirmed cases for week 32 was 10.8 per 100,000 population.

The overall COVID-19 hospital admission rate for week 32 was 3.00 per 100,000 population, an increase from 1.97 per 100,000 in the previous report.

ICU admission rates have increased to 0.08 compared to 0.05 in the previous report.

Hospital admission rates have increased in all age groups, except those aged 15 to 24 years.

Those aged 85 years and over continue to have the highest hospital admission rates; these have increased to 32.63 per 100,000 from 20.49 per 100,000 in the previous report. Admission rates among those aged 75 to 84 years have increased to 15.71 per 100,000 from 9.45 in the previous report.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

The latest data shows that COVID-19 cases continue to rise. To help combat the spread of the virus, we continue to advise that anyone with symptoms of a respiratory infection should try to stay at home and away from others – especially those who are vulnerable.

Hospitalisations are also increasing, but still remain at very low levels. ICU admissions have increased in this week’s report, but remain extremely low. We will continue to monitor these rates closely.

We urge everyone eligible to take up the vaccine when offered by the NHS this autumn.

Last week we announced the eligible groups available for the 2023 autumn booster. This includes those who are aged 65 years and over, those within a clinical risk group, or those who live and work closely with vulnerable people.

Thursday 3 August 2023

This fortnightly flu and COVID-19 report brings together the latest surveillance data along with the latest public health advice.

COVID-19 surveillance up until end of week 30

COVID-19 case rates continued to increase this week compared to our previous report. 5.4% of 4,396 respiratory specimens reported through the Respiratory DataMart System were identified as COVID-19. This is compared to 3.7% of 4,403 from the previous report.

The overall COVID-19 hospital admission rate for week 30 was 1.97 per 100,000 population, an increase from 1.17 per 100,000 in the previous report.

ICU admission rates have decreased to 0.05 compared to 0.07 in the previous report.

Those aged 85 years and over continue to have the highest hospital admission rates; these have increased to 20.49 per 100,000 from 9.8 per 100,000 in the previous report. Admission rates among those aged 75 to 84 years have increased to 9.45 per 100,000 from 5.54 in the previous report.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

We continue to see a rise in COVID-19 cases in this week’s report. We have also seen a small rise in hospital admission rates in most age groups, particularly among the elderly. Overall levels of admission still remain extremely low and we are not currently seeing a similar increase in ICU admissions. We will continue to monitor these rates closely.

Regular and thorough hand washing helps protect you from COVID-19 and other bugs and viruses. If you have symptoms of a respiratory illness, we recommend staying away from others where possible.

The NHS will be in contact in autumn 2023 when the seasonal vaccine is available for those who are eligible due to health conditions or age, and we urge everyone who is offered to take up the vaccine when offered.

Thursday 20 July 2023

This fortnightly flu and COVID-19 report brings together the latest surveillance data along with the latest public health advice.

COVID-19 surveillance up until end of week 28

COVID-19 case rates have slightly increased this week compared to our previous report: 3.7% of 4,403 respiratory specimens reported through the Respiratory DataMart System were identified as COVID-19, compared to 3.6% of 4,535 from the previous report.

The overall COVID-19 hospital admission rate for week 28 was 1.17 per 100,000 population, an increase from 0.8 per 100,000 in the previous report.

ICU admission rates have increased to 0.07 compared to 0.04 in the previous report.

Those aged 85 and over continue to have the highest hospital admission rates. These have increased to 9.8 per 100,000 from 8.61 per 100,000 in the previous report.

Admission rates among those aged 75 to 84 have increased to 5.54 per 100,000 from 4.74 in the previous report.

Dr Jamie Lopez Bernal, Consultant Epidemiologist for Immunisation at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

COVID-19 cases and hospital admission rates remain at low levels, though have risen very slightly in the past 2 weeks. We will continue to monitor these rates closely.

The NHS will be in contact in autumn 2023 when the seasonal vaccine is available for those who are eligible due to health conditions or age. Remember that the virus can cause serious illness, especially for those who are older or immunosuppressed, so we urge everyone who is offered to take up the vaccine when offered.

Thursday 6 July 2023

This fortnightly flu and COVID-19 report brings together the latest surveillance data along with the latest public health advice.

COVID-19 surveillance up until end of week 26

COVID-19 case rates have decreased this week compared to our previous report. 3.6% of 4,535 respiratory specimens reported through the Respiratory DataMart System were identified as COVID-19.

Hospital admissions and ICU admission rates have continued to decrease. The overall COVID-19 hospital admission rate for week 26 was 0.8 per 100,000 population, a decrease from 2.03 per 100,000 the previous report.

Those aged 85 years and over continue to have the highest hospital admission rates, though these have continued to decline this week to 8.61 per 100,000 from 22.4 per 100,000 in the previous report. Admission rates among those aged 75 to 84 years have declined to 4.74 per 100,000 from 10.06 in the previous report.

ICU admission rates continue to decrease to 0.04 compared to 0.07 in our previous report.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at UKHSA, said:

COVID-19 rates remain low, but those who are older or immunosuppressed are still at risk of being admitted to hospital.

As we enter July, the spring booster offer has now closed. The seasonal COVID-19 vaccine will return in autumn 2023. If your NHS record suggests you may be eligible due to your health condition or age, the NHS will be in contact with you to let you know when you can take up this offer.

Those who have developed a new health condition or started treatment that severely weakens your immune system, as well as children aged 6 months to 4 years who are at increased risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19 may still be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. We’d recommend speaking with your specialist for more information.

Thursday 22 June 2023

This fortnightly flu and COVID-19 report brings together the latest surveillance data along with the latest public health advice.

COVID-19 surveillance up until end of week 24

COVID-19 case rates have continued to decrease this week. Of 5,708 respiratory specimens reported through the Respiratory DataMart System, 4.2% were identified as COVID-19.

The overall COVID-19 hospital admission rate for week 24 was 2.03 per 100,000 population, a decrease from 2.3 per 100,000 the previous week.

Those aged 85 years and over continue to have the highest hospital admission rates, though these have continued to decline this week to 22.4 per 100,000 from 27.5 per 100,000 the previous week. Admission rates among those aged 75 to 84 years have declined to 10.06 per 100,000 from 10.3 the previous week.

ICU admission rates continue to decrease to 0.07 compared to 0.09 in week 23.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at UKHSA, said:

While COVID-19 rates continue to be low, the virus is still in circulation. Those who are older or immunosuppressed are still at higher risk of being admitted to hospital.

Everyone aged 75 and over, and those aged 5 and over with weakened immune systems, can top up their immunity with a spring booster. As we approach the final days of June, remember that the booster offer will close at the end of this month. There are still a few days left to book your booster through NHS online or by calling 119.

Thursday 8 June 2023

This fortnightly flu and COVID-19 report brings together the latest surveillance data along with the latest public health advice.

COVID-19 surveillance up until end of week 22

COVID-19 case rates decreased in week 22 across all age groups, ethnic groups and all regions. Data from Respiratory Datamart suggests that SARS-CoV-2 positivity decreased to 5.0%.

The overall COVID-19 hospital admission rate for week 22 was 2.5 per 100,000 population, a decrease from 3.2 per 100,000 the previous week.

Those aged 85 and over continue to have the highest hospital admission rates, though these have continued to decline this week to 25.2 per 100,000 from 34.6 per 100,000 the previous week. Admission rates among those aged 75 to 84 have declined to 12.3 per 100,000 from 16.2 the previous week.

ICU admission rates continue to decrease to 0.11 compared to 0.16 in week 21.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

Although overall rates are low, COVID-19 is still in circulation and those who are older or immunosuppressed are still at higher risk of being admitted to hospital.

Everyone aged 75 and over, and those aged 5 and over with weakened immune systems, can top up their immunity with a spring booster. Remember that the booster offer ends at the end of June, so book in now if you’ve still not taken it up before it’s too late.

Thursday 25 May

This weekly flu and coronavirus (COVID-19) report brings together the latest surveillance data along with the latest public health advice.

Influenza rates continue to be within baseline activity levels.

COVID-19 surveillance up until end of week 20

COVID-19 case rates decreased in week 20 across most age groups, ethnic groups and all regions. Data from Respiratory Datamart suggests that SARS-CoV-2 positivity decreased to 5.9% compared to 6.6% in the previous week.

The overall COVID-19 hospital admission rate for week 20 was 3.25 per 100,000 population, a decrease from 3.99 per 100,000 the previous week.

Those aged 85 years and over continue to have the highest hospital admission rates, though these have continued to decline this week to 36.30 per 100,000 from 48.18 per 100,000 the previous week. Admission rates among those aged 75 to 84 years have declined to 15.96 per 100,000 from 20.57 the previous week.

ICU admission rates continue to decrease to 0.11 compared to 0.12 in week 19.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

Although overall rates continue to decline, COVID-19 is still in circulation and those who are more vulnerable are still being admitted to hospital.

Everyone aged 75 years and over, and those aged 5 years and over with weakened immune systems, can top up their immunity with a spring COVID-19 booster and I encourage them to take up the offer now.

Thursday 18 May

This weekly flu and coronavirus (COVID-19) report brings together the latest surveillance data along with the latest public health advice.

Influenza rates continue to be within baseline activity levels.

COVID-19 surveillance up until end of week 19

COVID-19 case rates decreased in week 19 in all age groups, ethnic groups and most regions. Data from Respiratory Datamart suggests that SARS-CoV-2 positivity decreased to 6.7% compared to 7.1% in the previous week.

The overall COVID-19 hospital admission rate for week 19 was 3.86 per 100,000 population, a decrease from 4.39 per 100,000 the previous week.

Those aged 85 years and over continue to have the highest hospital admission rates, though these have continued to decline this week. Admission rates among those aged 75 to 84 years have declined to 20.51 per 100,000 from 22.49 the previous week, and rates in those aged over 85 years have declined to 46.37 per 100,000 from 52.82 per 100,000 the previous week.

ICU admission rates continue to decrease to 0.12 compared to 0.14 in week 18.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

The spring COVID-19 booster is currently available for all those aged 75 and over, and those aged 5 years and over with weakened immune systems.

I urge everyone who is eligible to come forward and top up their immunity, particularly as we continue to see hospital admissions in people aged 75 years and over who catch the virus.

Thursday 11 May

This weekly flu and coronavirus (COVID-19) report brings together the latest surveillance data along with the latest public health advice.

Influenza rates continue to be within baseline activity levels.

COVID-19 surveillance up until end of week 18

COVID-19 case rates decreased in week 18 in all age groups, ethnic groups and most regions. Data from Respiratory Datamart suggests that SARS-CoV-2 positivity remained stable at 7.1% compared to 7.2% in the previous week.

Overall, hospital admission rates remained stable in week 18. The highest admission rates continue to be seen in the over 85s, though these have declined again this week. Admission rates among those aged 75 to 84 have declined to 22.49 per 100,000 from 24.10 the previous week, and rates in those aged over 85 have declined to 53.69 per 100,000 from 55.35 the previous week.

The overall COVID-19 hospital admission rate for week 18 was 4.42 per 100,000 population, a decrease from 4.63 per 100,000 the previous week.

ICU admission rates have fallen slightly to 0.14 compared to 0.16 in week 17.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

While cases and hospital admission rates continue to fall, those over the age of 75 remain more vulnerable to severe illness due to COVID-19.

This age group and those aged over 5 with weakened immune systems are now eligible for the spring booster. With the virus still circulating I encourage everyone to take up the offer in order to give themselves the best protection this summer.

Thursday 4 May

This weekly flu and coronavirus (COVID-19) report brings together the latest surveillance data along with the latest public health advice.

Influenza rates are now within baseline activity levels.

COVID-19 surveillance up until end of week 17

COVID-19 case rates decreased in week 17 in all age groups, regions, and most ethnic groups. Data from Respiratory Datamart suggests that SARS-CoV-2 positivity decreased slightly to 6.9% compared to 7.3% in the previous week. The highest positivity was seen in those aged 65 years and over at 9.8%.

Hospital admission rates have decreased in almost all age groups. The highest admission rates continue to be seen in the over 75s, though these have declined this week. Admission rates among those aged 75 to 84 years have declined to 23.4 per 100,000 from 30.1 the previous week, and those aged over 85 years have declined to 55.4 per 100,000 from at 63.9 the previous week.

The overall COVID-19 hospital admission rate for week 17 was 4.5 per 100,000 population, a decrease from 5.4 per 100,000 the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 were highest in the South East, with a rate of 6.8 per 100,000 population.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

Older people are more vulnerable to COVID-19 and hospital admission rates continue to be highest among the over 75s.

Everyone aged 75 years and over, and those aged 5 years and over with weakened immune systems, are now eligible for the spring booster. Over one million people have come forward since the rollout began in mid-April and, with the virus still circulating, I encourage everyone to take up the offer and give themselves the best protection this summer.

Thursday 27 April

COVID-19 surveillance up until end of week 16

COVID-19 case rates decreased in week 16 in all age groups, regions, and most ethnic groups. Data from Respiratory Datamart suggests that SARS-CoV-2 positivity decreased to 7.6% compared to 7.9% in the previous week. The highest case rates were seen in those 80 years and over at 43.3 per 100,000.

Hospital admission rates have decreased in almost all age groups. The highest admission rates continue to be seen in the over 75s, with those aged 75 to 84 years at 30.4 per 100,000 population and those aged over 85 years at 63.1 per 100,000.

The overall COVID-19 hospital admission rate for week 16 was 5.3 per 100,000 population, a decrease from 6.3 per 100,000 in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 are highest in the North East for the ninth consecutive week, with a rate of 7.5 per 100,000 population, a decrease from 9.1 per 100,000 in week 15.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

The highest hospital admission rates for COVID-19 continue to be among the over 75s, so it is important everyone in this age group keeps their immunity topped up by coming forward for their spring booster.

The virus has not gone away and we continue to see thousands of cases reported every week so topping up your protection is particularly important for groups who are more vulnerable.

Thursday 20 April

This weekly flu and coronavirus (COVID-19) briefing brings together the latest surveillance data along with the latest public health advice. Norovirus surveillance reports are now published monthly.

COVID-19 surveillance up until end of week 15

COVID-19 case rates decreased in week 15 in all age groups, regions, and most ethnic groups. Data from Respiratory Datamart suggests that SARS-CoV-2 positivity remains stable at 7.8% compared to 8.3% in the previous week. The highest positivity was seen in the group of those aged 65 years and over at 11.1%.

Hospital admission rates have decreased in almost all age groups. The highest admission rates continue to be seen in the over 75s, with those aged 75 to 84 years at 32.5 per 100,000 population and those aged over 85 years at 73.7 per 100,000.

The overall COVID-19 hospital admission rate for week 15 was 6.2 per 100,000 population, a decrease from 6.5 per 100,000 in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 are highest in the North East for the eighth consecutive week, with a rate of 9.0 per 100,000 population, a decrease from 10.9 per 100,000 in week 14.

Dr Jamie Lopez Bernal, Consultant Epidemiologist for Immunisation at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

The COVID-19 spring booster is now available to all those aged 75 years and over, and those aged 5 years and over with weakened immune systems.

We are continuing to see the highest hospital admission rates for COVID-19 among the over-75s, so it is important everyone in this age group keeps their immunity topped up by booking in for their booster via the National Booking Service or the NHS App.

Sources of surveillance data for influenza, COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses are available on GOV.UK.

Background

Mid-season analysis by UKHSA and partner public health agencies shows that children and adults vaccinated against flu this year have good protection against the circulating influenza B.

Thursday 13 April

Starting today (13 April), norovirus surveillance reports will be published monthly. The next report will be published on 11 May 2023.

COVID-19 surveillance up until end of week 14

COVID-19 case rates decreased in week 14 in all age groups, regions, and ethnic groups. Data from Respiratory Datamart suggests that SARS-CoV-2 positivity remains stable at 8.9% compared to 9.2% in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates have decreased in almost all age groups. The highest admission rates continue to be seen in the group of those aged 75 years and over, with those aged 75 to 84 years at 34.9 per 100,000 population and those aged 85 years and over at 74.5 per 100,000.

The overall COVID-19 hospital admission rate for week 14 was 6.6 per 100,000 population, a decrease from 8.4 per 100,000 in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 are highest in the North East for the seventh consecutive week, with a rate of 10.9 per 100,000 population, a decrease from 12.7 per 100,000 in week 13.

Dr Jamie Lopez Bernal, Consultant Epidemiologist for Immunisation at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

Those aged 75 years and over are still experiencing the highest hospital admission rates with COVID-19 so it is important everyone in this age group keeps their immunity topped up.

Bookings for the spring booster vaccination are now open to all those aged 75 and over, as well as those aged 5 years and over with weakened immune systems.

Vaccinations begin on Monday and I would encourage everyone who is eligible to come forward and strengthen their protection. You can book in via the National Booking Service or the NHS app.

Flu surveillance up until end of week 14

The overall flu hospital admission rate decreased in week 14 and is within baseline activity levels. Influenza admission rates declined or stayed low in all age groups.

There were no confirmed influenza outbreaks reported in England.

Swab positivity for flu* remained low and stable** at 1.4% compared to 1.6% the previous week, with the highest positivity seen in the group of those aged 15 to 44 years at 4.7%.

Influenza B continues to make up a majority of detections in surveillance systems.

*The percentage of people who test positive among those with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories, reported through the Respiratory Datamart surveillance system.

**Influenza activity bands are set using an international standard method.

Background

Most people have some immunity to influenza B so it is typically considered to be milder than influenza A. For those with less immunity – like children who have not encountered flu B before and not been vaccinated against flu – it can be as severe as influenza A.

Mid-season analysis by UKHSA and partner public health agencies shows that children vaccinated against flu this year have good protection against the circulating influenza B.

Norovirus surveillance up until end of week 13

In weeks 12 and 13, laboratory reports of norovirus were 68% higher than the 5-season average pre-COVID-19 (2014/2015 to 2018/2019). However, the number of laboratory reports has decreased each week over the 4 week period of weeks 10 to 13 in 2023.

The number of reported enteric virus (EV) outbreaks remained below pre-pandemic levels during weeks 10 to 13, with reports 29% lower than the 5-season average for the same 3-week period prior to the pandemic.

The majority of EV outbreaks in weeks 10 and 13 were reported in care home settings.

If anyone is concerned about their symptoms, contact NHS 111, talk to your GP by phone or visit the NHS norovirus webpage for more information. Please try not to visit healthcare premises if you have symptoms.

Learn more about norovirus in our blog article.

Lesley Larkin, Head of Surveillance Scientist for Gastrointestinal Infections and Food Safety Division at UKHSA, said:

We are continuing to see most outbreaks being reported in care homes meaning it’s important to continue to take steps to try and stop norovirus spreading. Norovirus causes vomiting and diarrhoea so if you or a family member are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should avoid visiting hospitals and care homes, and not return to work or school, until 48 hours after your symptoms have stopped.

Hand gels do not kill norovirus, so handwashing with soap and warm water is always best. Using bleach-based products to clean surfaces will also help stop the virus from spreading.

Make sure to drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration which can result in hospitalisation; this is particularly important for vulnerable groups such as the very young, elderly or immunocompromised.

Thursday 6 April

COVID-19 surveillance up until end of week 13

COVID-19 case rates decreased in week 13 in most age groups, regions, and ethnic groups. Data from Respiratory Datamart suggests that SARS-CoV-2 positivity has decreased to 9.2% compared to 10.9% in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates have decreased in almost all age groups. The highest admission rates continue to be seen in the over 75s, with those aged 75 to 84 years at 44.6 per 100,000 population and those aged over 85 years at 99.4 per 100,000.

The overall COVID-19 hospital admission rate for week 13 was 8.4 per 100,000 population, a decrease from 9.4 per 100,000 in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 are highest in the North East for the sixth consecutive week, with a rate of 12.7 per 100,000 population, a decrease from 14.5 per 100,000 in week 12.

Dr Jamie Lopez Bernal, Consultant Epidemiologist for Immunisation at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

Those aged 75 and over are still by far the largest group admitted to hospital due to severe illness from COVID-19. With the spring booster now available, I encourage everyone aged over 75, and anyone else who is eligible, to come forward and strengthen their protection by taking up the vaccine as soon as they are offered it.

Flu surveillance up until end of week 13

The overall flu hospital admission rate decreased in week 13 around the threshold between baseline and low activity levels. Influenza admission rates declined or stayed low in all age groups.

There were no confirmed influenza outbreaks reported in England.

Swab positivity for flu* remained low and stable** at 1.4% compared to 1.6% the previous week, with highest positivity seen in the group of those aged 15 to 44 years at 4.5%.

Influenza B continues to make up a majority of detections in surveillance systems.

*The percentage of people who test positive among those with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories, reported through the Respiratory Datamart surveillance system.

**Influenza activity bands are set using an international standard method.

Background

Most people have some immunity to influenza B so it is typically considered to be milder than influenza A. For those with less immunity – like children who have not encountered flu B before and not been vaccinated against flu – it can be as severe as influenza A.

Mid-season analysis by UKHSA and partner public health agencies shows that children vaccinated against flu this year have good protection against the circulating influenza B.

Dr Jamie Lopez Bernal, Consultant Epidemiologist for Immunisation at UKHSA, said:

Flu levels have now fallen to far below the winter peak with vaccination being key in reducing the impact of flu.

You can help stop the spread of respiratory viruses by washing your hands regularly and avoiding others if you feel unwell, particularly those who are more vulnerable.

Norovirus surveillance up until end of week 12

In weeks 11 and 12, laboratory reports of norovirus were 68% higher than the 5-season average pre-COVID-19 (2014/2015 to 2018/2019) with the highest levels of reporting in the groups of those aged over 65 years and those aged under 5 years.

The number of reported enteric virus (EV) outbreaks (all suspected or confirmed as norovirus) remained below pre-pandemic levels during weeks 10 and 11, with reports 34% lower than the 5-season average for the same 2-week period prior to the pandemic.

The majority of  EV outbreaks in weeks 11 and 12 were reported in care home settings; however, outbreaks reported in hospital settings have also increased in recent weeks.

If anyone is concerned about their symptoms, contact NHS 111, talk to your GP by phone or visit the NHS norovirus webpage for more information. Please try not to visit healthcare premises if you have symptoms.

Learn more about norovirus in our blog article.

Lesley Larkin, Head of Surveillance Scientist for Gastrointestinal Infections and Food Safety Division at UKHSA, said:

Norovirus cases are still very high – particularly in those aged 65 and over and in under 5s and we continue to see most outbreaks reported in care homes. Therefore, it’s really important to take steps to try and stop the virus spreading.

Norovirus symptoms include vomiting and diarrhoea. If you or a family member have norovirus symptoms, you should avoid visiting hospitals and care homes, and not return to work or school, until 48 hours after your symptoms have stopped.

Hand gels do not kill norovirus, so handwashing with soap and warm water is best. Using bleach-based products to clean surfaces will also help stop the virus from spreading.

Make sure to drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration which can result in hospitalisation; this is particularly important for vulnerable groups such as the very young, elderly or immunocompromised.

Thursday 30 March

COVID-19 surveillance up until end of week 12

Coronavirus (COVID-19) case rates through pillar one (6,466 cases) decreased or remained stable in week 12, in most age groups, most regions, and ethnic groups. Through Respiratory Datamart, SARS-CoV-2 positivity has decreased to 10.0% compared to 10.9% previous week. Pillar 2: 19,998 cases at 6.1% positivity.

Hospital admission rates have decreased in almost all age groups. The highest admission rates continue to be seen in people aged 75 years and over, with those aged 75 to 84 years at 45.5 per 100,000 population and those aged 85 years and over at 113.56 per 100,000.

The overall COVID-19 hospital admission rate for week 12 was 9.38 per 100,000 population, a decrease from 10.44 per 100,000 in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 continue to be the highest in the North East for the fifth consecutive week, with a rate of 13.65 per 100,000 population, a decrease from 16.38 per 100,000 in week 11.

Dr Jamie Lopez Bernal, consultant epidemiologist for immunisation at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

Older people, aged 75 years and over, continue to be by far the largest group admitted to hospital due to severe illness from COVID-19. With the spring booster set to be rolled out by the NHS very soon, I would encourage all aged over 75 years and others who are eligible to come forward and top up their protection as soon as possible when offered.

Flu surveillance up until end of week 12

The overall flu hospital admission rate remained stable in week 12 around the threshold between baseline and low activity levels.

Influenza admission rates declined or stayed low in all age groups. There were no confirmed influenza outbreaks reported.

Swab positivity for flu* remained low and stable** at 1.5%, compared to 2.0% the previous week, with highest positivity seen in the group of those aged 15 to 44 years at 4.2%.

Influenza B continues to make up a majority of detections in surveillance systems.

*The percentage of people who test positive among those with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories, reported through the Respiratory Datamart surveillance system.

**Influenza activity bands are set using an international standard method.

Background

Most people have some immunity to influenza B so it is typically considered to be milder than influenza A. For those with less immunity – like children who have not encountered flu B before and not been vaccinated against flu – it can be as severe as influenza A.

Mid-season analysis by UKHSA and partner public health agencies show that children vaccinated against flu this year have good protection against the circulating influenza B.

Dr Conall Watson, consultant epidemiologist at UKHSA, said:

Flu levels have now fallen to much lower than the winter peak with vaccination being critical in reducing the impact of flu.

Low-levels of the flu type B virus is still circulating. For children without immunity, flu B can be as severe as flu type A and parents should be alert for any symptoms, such as fever, cough and tiredness. Contact 111 if you have any concerns.

Everyone can help stop the spread of respiratory viruses by washing your hands regularly and avoiding others if you feel unwell, particularly those who are more vulnerable.

Norovirus surveillance up until end of week 11

In weeks 10 and 11, laboratory reports of norovirus were almost double the 5-season average pre-COVID-19 (2014/2015 to 2018/2019) with the highest levels of reporting in those aged over 65 years and in the under 5 years age group.

The number of reported enteric virus (EV) outbreaks (all suspected or confirmed as norovirus) remained below pre-pandemic levels during weeks 10 and 11, with reports 28% lower than the 5-season average for the same 2-week period prior to the pandemic.

The majority of EV outbreaks in weeks 10 and 11 were reported in care home settings, with the highest number of outbreaks reported since the beginning of the pandemic during week 10.

If anyone is concerned about their symptoms, contact NHS 111, talk to your GP by phone or visit the NHS norovirus webpage for more information, but please try not to visit healthcare premises if you have symptoms.

Learn more about norovirus in our blog article.

Lesley Larkin, Head of Surveillance Scientist for Gastrointestinal Infections and Food Safety Division at UKHSA, said:

Norovirus cases are still high and those aged 65 years and over and under 5s are the most vulnerable. We are seeing most of the outbreaks in care homes, so it’s really important we take steps to help stop the spread.

If you or a family member have been sick with norovirus, you should avoid visiting hospitals and care homes, or return to work or school, until 48 hours after your symptoms have stopped.

Hand gels do not kill norovirus, so handwashing with soap and warm water is best and using bleach-based products to clean surfaces will also help stop the virus from spreading.

If unwell, drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration which can result in hospitalisation, particularly for the most vulnerable.

Thursday 23 March

COVID-19 surveillance up until end of week 11

Hospital admission rates among those aged 75 years and over for coronavirus (COVID-19) remain relatively high, with a further increase this week in rates among those aged over 85 years at 132 per 100,000, up from 123 the previous week.

There were also slight increases in hospital admissions among those aged between 15 and 74 years in week 11.

The overall COVID-19 hospital admission rate for week 11 was 10.62 per 100,000 population, an increase from 10.14 per 100,000 in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 continue to be the highest in the North East, with a rate of 16.38 per 100,000 population.

Dr Jamie Lopez Bernal, consultant epidemiologist for immunisation at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

COVID-19 hospitalisation rates among the over 75s continue to be high, with further increases among the over 85s. Vulnerability increases with age, which is why everyone over the age of 75 will be offered a spring COVID-19 booster through the NHS next month. I would encourage everyone who is eligible to come forward and top up their protection when they are called.

Everyone can help stop the spread of respiratory viruses by washing your hands regularly and avoiding others if you feel unwell, particularly those who are more vulnerable.

Flu surveillance up until end of week 11

In week 11, in most indicators influenza activity remained stable at low levels. Following the high activity at the end of 2022, influenza type A has declined but influenza B circulation has continued and it now makes up the majority of detections in surveillance systems.

Swab positivity for flu* remained low and stable at 1.6%, compared to 1.9% the previous week, with highest positivity seen in the group of those aged 15 to 44 years at 4.2%.

The overall influenza hospital admission rate remained stable in week 11 around the threshold between baseline and low activity levels. There have been some increases seen in admissions among children aged under 5 years. Some increases were also seen in critical care admission rates.**

*The percentage of people who test positive among those with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories, reported through the Respiratory Datamart surveillance system.

**Influenza activity bands are set using an international standard method.

Background

Most people have some immunity to influenza B so it is typically considered to be milder than influenza A. For those with less immunity – like children who have not encountered flu B before and not been vaccinated against flu – it can be as severe as influenza A.

Mid-season analysis by UKHSA and partner public health agencies show that children vaccinated against flu this year have good protection against the circulating influenza B.

Dr Conall Watson, consultant epidemiologist at UKHSA, said:

Flu activity has now dropped to much lower levels than we saw at the end of December. Vaccination has been critical in reducing the impact of flu this winter. We are continuing to monitor for late season influenza type B activity including hospital admission rates in children. Young children can be vulnerable to flu at any time of year and parents are advised to keep an eye out for symptoms and contact 111 if you have any concerns.

Everyone can help stop the spread of respiratory viruses by washing your hands regularly and avoiding others if you feel unwell, particularly those who are more vulnerable.

RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) surveillance up until end of week 11

RSV overall swab positivity* has remained low at 0.9%.

In week 11, the overall hospital admission rate remained stable for RSV at 0.11 per 100,000.

Learn more about RSV in our blog.

*Among people with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories, reported through the Respiratory Datamart surveillance system.

Norovirus surveillance up until end of week 10

In weeks 9 and 10, laboratory reports of norovirus were 73% higher than the 5-season average pre-COVID-19 (2014/2015 to 2018/2019) with the highest levels of reporting in those aged over 65 years and in the under 5 years age group.

The number of reported enteric virus (EV) outbreaks (all suspected or confirmed as norovirus) remained below pre-pandemic levels during weeks 9 and 10, with reports 21% lower than the 5-season average for the same 2-week period prior to the pandemic.

The majority of EV outbreaks in weeks 9 and 10 were reported in care home settings, with the highest number of outbreaks reported since the beginning of the pandemic during week 10.

If anyone is concerned about their symptoms, contact NHS 111, talk to your GP by phone or visit the NHS norovirus webpage for more information, but please try not to visit healthcare premises if you have symptoms.

Learn more about norovirus in our blog article.

Amy Douglas, Senior Surveillance Scientist for Gastrointestinal Infections and Food Safety Division at UKHSA, said:

Norovirus cases are still high and those aged 65 and over and under 5s are most impacted. Most outbreaks are taking place in care homes, so it’s really important we take steps to help stop the spread. Please avoid visiting hospitals and care homes until 48 hours after your symptoms have stopped.

Hand gels do not kill norovirus, so handwashing with soap and warm water is best. If you or your child get the virus, do not return to work (particularly if you work with vulnerable people or food) or send your children back to school until 48 hours after symptoms stop. Using bleach-based products to clean surfaces will also help stop the virus from spreading.

While unwell, you should also drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration which can result in hospitalisation, particularly for vulnerable groups such as young children, older adults and the immunocompromised.

Thursday 16 March

COVID-19 surveillance up until end of week 10

Coronavirus (COVID-19) activity showed a mixed picture, with some indicators suggesting a slight increase in week 10.

The COVID-19 hospital admission rate for week 10 was 10.14 per 100,000 population, an increase from 9.50 per 100,000 in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 continue to be the highest in the North East, with a rate of 14.03 per 100,000 population.

Flu surveillance up until end of week 10

In week 10, swab positivity for flu* remained low and stable at 1.9% compared to the previous week, with highest positivity seen in the group of those aged 15 to 44 years at 5.5%, an increase from 5.1% in week 9.

Hospital admission rates remained low and stable in the last week and remained within baseline activity levels. Intensive care units (ICU) and high dependency units (HDU) hospital admission rates also remained low and stable and continue to stay within the baseline range of activity levels**.

The majority of flu detections in the most recent week have been influenza B across a number of surveillance systems.

*The percentage of people who test positive among those with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories, reported through the Respiratory Datamart surveillance system.

**Influenza activity bands are set using an international standard method.

Dr Gavin Dabrera, Deputy Director of COVID-19 Vaccines and Epidemiology at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

Hospitalisation rates for flu are returning back to the baseline levels we would expect at this time of year, but we are not seeing a similar drop in cases of COVID-19.

Hospitalisation rates among the over-75s for COVID-19 have increased again this week. This highlights the importance of the spring booster campaign and I would encourage everyone who is eligible to come forward and top up their protection when they are called by the NHS in England next month.

RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) surveillance up until end of week 10

RSV overall swab positivity* has remained low at 0.9%.

In week 10, the overall hospital admission rate remained stable for RSV at 0.38 per 100,000.

Learn more about RSV in our blog.

*Among people with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories, reported through the Respiratory Datamart surveillance system.

Norovirus surveillance up until end of week 9

In weeks 8 and 9, laboratory reports of norovirus were 47% higher than the 5-season average pre-COVID-19 (2014/2015 to 2018/2019) with the highest rates of reporting in those aged over 65 years and also those in the under 5 years age group.

The number of reported enteric virus (EV) outbreaks (all suspected or confirmed as norovirus) remained below pre-pandemic levels during weeks 8 and 9, with reports 31% lower than the 5-season average for the same 2-week period prior to the pandemic.

The majority of EV outbreaks in weeks 8 and 9 were reported in care home settings, with the highest number of outbreaks reported this season to date during this period.

If anyone is concerned about their symptoms, contact NHS 111, talk to your GP by phone or visit the NHS norovirus webpage for more information, but please try not to visit healthcare premises if you have symptoms.

Learn more about norovirus in our blog article.

Amy Douglas, Senior Surveillance Scientist of Gastrointestinal Infections and Food Safety Division at UKHSA, said:

Norovirus levels continue to be very high this week with the over 65 age group mostly affected, and the majority of outbreaks reported in care home settings.

Norovirus is very infectious but there are things we can do to stop the spread. Hand gels do not kill norovirus so handwashing with soap and warm water is most effective. If you or your child get the virus you should not return to work (particularly if you work with vulnerable people or food) or send your children back to school until 48 hours after symptoms stop. Using bleach-based products to clean surfaces will also help stop the virus spreading.

Anyone unwell with norovirus should drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration which, for young children and older adults, can result in hospitalisation. Please do take care when visiting hospitals and care homes and wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water often. Avoid visiting these settings while unwell with norovirus symptoms or until 48 hours after symptoms have stopped.

Previous

Thursday 9 March

COVID-19 surveillance up until end of week 9

Coronavirus (COVID-19) activity showed a mixed picture, with some indicators, most notably hospitalisations and primary care surveillance, suggesting a slight increase in activity.

The COVID-19 hospital admission rate for week 8 was 9.44 per 100,000 population, an increase from 9.03 per 100,000 in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 are highest in the North East, with a rate of 15.66 per 100,000 population.

Flu surveillance up until end of week 9

In week 9, swab positivity for flu* decreased slightly to 1.8% compared to 2.5% in week 8, with highest positivity seen in the 15 to 44-year-old age group at 4.6%, a decrease from 6.8% in week 8.

Hospital admission rates decreased in the last week and have returned to baseline activity levels. Intensive care units (ICU) and high dependency units (HDU) hospital admission rates have also decreased and continue to stay within the baseline range of activity levels**.

*The percentage of people who test positive among those with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories, reported through the Respiratory Datamart surveillance system.

**Influenza activity bands are set using an international standard method.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

We continue to observe a downward trend in COVID-19 cases. Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 have slightly increased, reflecting the higher rates of infection in recent weeks, and remain highest in those aged 85 and over. Flu cases have decreased but we still hope to see further decreases in the coming weeks.

Simple actions can make a big difference in reducing the spread of these viruses. You can help by regularly washing your hands or staying at home and avoiding vulnerable people if you are unwell. If you do have to leave the house, please consider wearing a face covering, which can help prevent you passing respiratory viruses on.

RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) surveillance up until end of week 9

RSV overall swab positivity* has remained low at 1.1%.

In week 9, the overall hospital admission rate remained stable for RSV at 0.40 per 100,000.

Learn more about RSV in our blog.

*Among people with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories, reported through the Respiratory Datamart surveillance system.

Norovirus surveillance up until end of week 8

In weeks 7 and 8, laboratory reports of norovirus were 77% higher than the 5-season average pre-COVID-19 (2014/2015 to 2018/2019) with the highest rates of reporting in those over 65 and also in the under 5 age group.

The number of reported enteric virus (EV) outbreaks (all suspected or confirmed as norovirus) remained below pre-pandemic levels during weeks 7 and 8, with reports 31% lower than the 5-season average for the same 2-week period prior to the pandemic.

The majority of EV outbreaks in weeks 7 and 8 were reported in care home settings, with the highest number of outbreaks reported this season to date during this period.

If anyone is concerned about their symptoms, contact NHS 111, talk to your GP by phone or visit the NHS norovirus webpage for more information, but please try not to visit healthcare premises if you have symptoms.

Learn more about norovirus in our blog article.

Dr Lesley Larkin, Surveillance Lead, Gastrointestinal Infections and Food Safety Division at UKHSA, said:

Outbreaks of norovirus in educational settings have returned to pre-pandemic levels in recent weeks and are currently more than the 5-season average, particularly affecting children in early years. Norovirus levels continue to be very high and most reported cases are in the over 65s, particularly in care home settings.

Norovirus is very infectious but there are things we can do to stop the spread. Hand gels do not kill norovirus so handwashing with soap and warm water is the best way to prevent the spread. If you or your child get the virus you should not return to work (particularly if you work with vulnerable people or food) or send your children back to school until 48 hours after symptoms stop. Using bleach-based products to clean surfaces will help stop the virus spreading.

Anyone unwell with norovirus should drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration which, for young children, can result in hospitalisation. Please do take care when visiting hospitals and care homes and wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water often. Do not visit these settings while unwell with norovirus symptoms or until 48 hours after symptoms have stopped.

Thursday 2 March

COVID-19 surveillance up until end of week 8

Coronavirus (COVID-19) activity decreased in most indicators in week 8.

The COVID-19 hospital admission rate for week 8 was 8.62 per 100,000 population, a decrease from 9.39 per 100,000 in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 are highest in the North East, with a rate of 15.66 per 100,000 population.

Flu surveillance up until end of week 8

In week 8, swab positivity for flu* remained stable at 2.4% compared to 2.5% in week 7, with the highest positivity seen in those aged 15 to 44 years old at 6.7%, a decrease from 7.6% in week 7.

Hospital admission rates decreased in the last week and have returned to baseline activity levels. Intensive care units (ICU) and high dependency units (HDU) hospital admission rates remained stable and are at baseline range of activity levels**.

*The percentage of people who test positive among those with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories, reported through the Respiratory Datamart surveillance system.

**Influenza activity bands are set using an international standard method.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

We may be approaching spring, but this latest data shows that viruses that thrive in winter, like flu and COVID-19, are still very much in circulation. Though hospital admission rates for COVID-19 have recently decreased, they remain highest in those aged 85 and over. Flu case rates remain relatively stable and we need to see further decreases in the coming weeks.

Simple actions can make a big difference in reducing the spread of these viruses. You can help by regularly washing your hands or staying at home and avoiding vulnerable people if you are unwell. If you do have to leave the house, please consider wearing a face covering, which can help prevent you passing respiratory viruses on.

RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) surveillance up until end of week 8

RSV overall swab positivity* has remained low at 1.5%.

In week 8, the overall hospital admission rate decreased for RSV to 0.38 per 100,000.

Learn more about RSV in our blog.

*Among people with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories, reported through the Respiratory Datamart surveillance system

Norovirus surveillance up until end of week 7

In weeks 6 and 7 laboratory reports of norovirus were more than double the 5-season average pre-COVID-19 (2014/2015 to 2018/2019).

The number of reported enteric virus (EV) outbreaks (all suspected or confirmed as norovirus) remained below pre-pandemic levels during weeks 6 and 7, with reports 34% lower than the 5-season average for the same 2-week period prior to the pandemic.

The majority of EV outbreaks in weeks 6 and 7 were reported in care home settings, with the highest number of outbreaks reported this season to date in week 7.

If anyone is concerned about their symptoms, contact NHS 111, talk to your GP by phone or visit the NHS norovirus webpage for more information, but please try not to visit healthcare premises if you have symptoms. Learn more about norovirus in our blog article.

Dr Lesley Larkin, Surveillance Lead, Gastrointestinal Infections and Food Safety (One Health) Division at UKHSA, said:

Norovirus levels are currently the highest we have seen at this time of year in over a decade. Most reported cases are in the over 65s and we’re also seeing an increase in reported outbreaks, particularly in care home settings.

Please stay at home if you are experiencing norovirus symptoms and don’t return to work (particularly if you work with vulnerable people or food) or send sick children to school or nursery until 48 hours after symptoms have cleared. If you have a loved one in a care home or hospital, please avoid visiting until 48 hours after symptoms have cleared.

Regular hand washing is really important to help stop the spread of this bug, but remember, alcohol gels do not kill off norovirus so washing with soap and warm water is best.

Thursday 23 February

COVID-19 surveillance up until end of week 7

Coronavirus (COVID-19) activity increased in most indicators in week 7.

The COVID-19 hospital admission rate for week 7 was 9.38 per 100,000 population, an increase from 7.92 per 100,000 in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 are highest in the South East, with a rate of 12.47 per 100,000 population.

Flu surveillance up until end of week 7

In week 7, swab positivity for flu* increased slightly to 2.5% compared to 2.1% in week 6, with the highest positivity seen in those aged 15 to 44 years old at 7.6%, an increase from 5.2% in week 6.

Hospital admission rates increased slightly in the last week and are at low activity levels. Intensive care units (ICU) and high dependency units (HDU) hospital admission rates remained stable and are at baseline range of activity levels**.

Rates of in-person contact (meeting with people from outside of the household) for week 7 of 2023 continue to resemble the rates seen in November to mid-December 2022 (source: UKHSA FluSurvey).

This week, monthly data which covered vaccinations that were given between 1 September and 31 January 2023 for GP patients, frontline healthcare workers and school aged children has been published for the fifth time this season and comparator data is available for previous seasons.

For pregnant women, when grouped by ethnicity, the highest vaccine uptake was seen in the Chinese group, some White (British and Irish) and some Asian (Indian, any other Asian background and mixed White and Asian) groups, with the lowest uptake seen in some Black ethnicities (Caribbean, Mixed White and Black Caribbean, any other Black background).

For primary school-aged children, uptake is comparable at this timepoint in the season to last season, but below that seen in the 2020 to 2021 season (which saw the highest on record for primary school-aged children).

Across a number of surveillance systems, the majority of influenza detections in the most recent week have been influenza B, though still at low levels.

*The percentage of people who test positive among those with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories, reported through the Respiratory Datamart surveillance system.

**Influenza activity bands are set using an international standard method.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

COVID-19 and flu are still in circulation. Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 are continuing to increase, particularly among those aged 65 and over. Although flu case rates remain relatively low, we have also seen a rise in hospital admission rates among the over 85s, who are at greater risk of severe illness.

Simple actions can make a big difference in reducing the spread of these viruses. You can help by regularly washing your hands or staying at home and avoiding vulnerable people if you are unwell. If you do have to leave the house, please consider wearing a face covering, which can help prevent you passing respiratory viruses on.

RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) surveillance up until end of week 7

RSV overall swab positivity* has remained low at 1.6%.

In week 7, the overall hospital admission rate decreased slightly for RSV to 0.52 per 100,000.

Learn more about RSV in our blog.

*Among people with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories, reported through the Respiratory Datamart surveillance system.

Norovirus surveillance up until end of week 6

In weeks 5 and 6 laboratory reports of norovirus were almost double the 5-season average pre-COVID-19 (2014/2015 to 2018/2019).

The number of reported enteric virus (EV) outbreaks (all suspected or confirmed as norovirus) remained below pre-pandemic levels during weeks 5 and 6, with reports 38% lower than the 5-season average for the same 2-week period prior to the pandemic.

While the majority of EV outbreaks in weeks 5 and 6 were reported in care home settings, reports in educational and hospital settings have increased compared to previous weeks.

If anyone is concerned about their symptoms, contact NHS 111 or talk to their GP by phone or visit the NHS norovirus webpage for more information but please try not to visit healthcare premises if you have symptoms.

Learn more about norovirus in our blog article.

Dr Lesley Larkin, Surveillance Lead, Gastrointestinal Infections and Food Safety (One Health) Division at the UKHSA, said:

Norovirus levels across England are nearly double what we expect to see at this time of year – particularly in those aged 65 and older. It is important that anyone with symptoms avoids visiting loved ones in a care home or hospital while unwell or until 48 hours after symptoms have cleared. This will help stop the spread of the virus to those most vulnerable.

If you or your child has diarrhoea and vomiting, you should stay at home and not return to work or school until you or they have been symptom-free for 48 hours. This is particularly important for those who work with vulnerable people or food.

Regular hand washing is essential to help stop the spread of this bug, but remember, alcohol gels do not kill off norovirus so washing with soap and warm water is best.

Thursday 16 February

Flu surveillance up until end of week 6

In week 6, swab positivity for flu* decreased to 2.0% compared to 2.8% in week 5, with the highest positivity seen in those aged 15 to 44 years at 4.8%, a decrease from 5.2% in week 5.

Hospital admission rates decreased in the last week and have returned to the baseline activity range. Influenza ICU admissions slightly decreased in week 6 and remained within the baseline range of activity**.

Rates of in-person contact (meeting with people from outside of the household) for week 6 of 2023 continue to resemble the rates seen in November to mid-December 2022 (source: UKHSA FluSurvey).

*The percentage of people who test positive among those with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories, reported through the Respiratory Datamart surveillance system.

**Influenza activity bands are set using an international standard method.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

We are still seeing a steady rise in hospital admission rates for coronavirus (COVID-19) and rates remain highest in those over the age of 65, who are more likely to develop serious illness from COVID-19. We therefore cannot afford to be complacent.

It is encouraging that flu levels continue to fall sharply from the rates we saw at the turn of the year, and there are simple actions that we can all continue to take to prevent COVID-19 and flu spreading. If you are unwell, please try to stay at home and don’t visit vulnerable people. If you do have to leave the house, please consider wearing a face covering, which can help prevent you passing respiratory viruses on.

COVID-19 surveillance up until end of week 6

COVID-19 activity shows a mixed picture – with some indicators, most notably hospitalisations, suggesting an increase in activity.

The COVID-19 hospital admission rate for week 6 was 7.90 per 100,000 population, a small increase from 7.36 per 100,000 in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 are highest in the North East, with a rate of 12.39 per 100,000 population.

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) surveillance up until end of week 6

RSV overall swab positivity* decreased to 1.8%.

In week 6, the overall hospital admission rate remained stable for RSV to 0.69 per 100,000.

Learn more about RSV in our blog article.

*Among people with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories, reported through the Respiratory Datamart surveillance system.

Norovirus surveillance up until end of week 5

Laboratory reports of norovirus were almost double the 5-season average pre-COVID-19 (2014/2015 to 2018/2019).

The number of reported enteric virus (EV) outbreaks remained below pre-pandemic levels during weeks 4 and 5, with reports 37% lower than the 5-season average for the same 2-week period prior to the pandemic.

Enteric viruses, including norovirus, are primarily passed on through the faecal-oral route and cause diarrhoea and vomiting.

The majority of EV outbreaks in weeks 4 and 5 were reported in care home settings.

If anyone is concerned about their symptoms, contact NHS 111 or talk to their GP by phone or visit the NHS norovirus webpage for more information, but please try not to visit healthcare premises if you have symptoms.

Learn more about norovirus in our blog article.

Dr Lesley Larkin, Surveillance Lead, Gastrointestinal Infections and Food Safety (One Health) Division at UKHSA, said:

Norovirus outbreaks continue to rise – particularly in those aged 65 years and older and norovirus levels across England are nearly double what we expect to see at this time of year. It is vital that anyone experiencing symptoms avoids visiting loved ones in a care home or hospital while unwell or until 48 hours after symptoms have cleared, to help stop the spread to vulnerable people.

More widely we urge people who are experiencing symptoms to please stay at home and do not return to work (particularly if you work with vulnerable people or food) or send sick children to school or nursery until symptom free for 48 hours.

Regular hand washing is really important to help stop the spread of this bug, but remember, alcohol gels do not kill off norovirus so soap and warm water is best.

Thursday 9 February 2023

Flu surveillance up until end of week 5

In week 5, swab positivity for flu* decreased to 2.7% compared to 3.3% in week 4, with the highest positivity seen in those aged 15 to 44 years at 5.3%, a decrease from 7.3% in week 4.

Hospital admission rates decreased in the last week and have returned to the baseline activity range. Influenza ICU admissions remained stable in week 5 within the baseline range of activity**.

*The percentage of people who test positive among those with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories, reported through the Respiratory Datamart surveillance system.

**Influenza activity bands are set using an international standard method.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

Coronavirus (COVID-19) hospital admission rates continue to rise, particularly in those aged 65 years and over. The CH.1.1. and XBB.1.5 variants have a growth advantage in the UK, and further increases in transmission and hospitalisations are possible in future weeks.

The autumn COVID-19 booster offer for those at higher risk ends this Sunday, as well as the first booster offer for all. Thank you to the millions of people who have come forward for a jab to help protect themselves and others from severe illness and hospitalisation. If you are yet to get a booster that you are eligible for, you should book yours now.

Flu hospital admission rates continue to fall, but we are still in winter and we could still see increases yet. If you are at high risk of developing serious illness from flu, you should book your vaccine soon.

There are simple actions that we can all take to prevent COVID-19 and flu spreading. If you are unwell, please try to stay at home and don’t visit vulnerable people. This will also help to reduce transmission of norovirus, the most common cause of diarrhoea and vomiting, which is on the rise. If you do have to leave the house, please consider wearing a face covering, which can help prevent you passing respiratory viruses on.

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) surveillance up until end of week 5

RSV overall swab positivity* decreased to 2.1%.

In week 5, the overall hospital admission rate decreased for RSV to 0.60 per 100,000.

Learn more about RSV in our blog article.

*Among people with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories, reported through the Respiratory Datamart surveillance system.

Norovirus surveillance up until end of week 4

Laboratory reports of norovirus were 66% higher than the 5-season average pre-COVID-19 (2014/2015 to 2018/2019).

The number of reported enteric virus (EV) outbreaks remained below pre-pandemic levels during weeks 3 and 4, with reports 43% lower than the 5-season average for the same 2-week period prior to the pandemic.

The majority of outbreaks in weeks 3 and 4 were reported in care home settings.

If anyone is concerned about their symptoms, contact NHS 111 or talk to their GP by phone or visit the NHS norovirus webpage for more information.

Learn more about norovirus in our blog article.

Dr Lesley Larkin, Surveillance Lead, Gastrointestinal Infections and Food Safety (One Health) Division at the UK Health Security Agency, said:

Norovirus levels are currently the highest we have seen at this time of year in over a decade. Most reported cases are in those aged over 65 years and we’re also seeing a rise in reported outbreaks, particularly in care home settings. Please stay at home if you are experiencing norovirus symptoms and do not return to work (particularly if you work with vulnerable people or food) or send sick children to school or nursery until 48 hours after symptoms have cleared. If you have a loved one in a care home or hospital, please avoid visiting until 48 hours after symptoms have cleared.

Regular hand washing is really important to help stop the spread of this bug, but remember, alcohol gels do not kill off norovirus so soap and warm water is best.

Thursday 2 February 2023

Flu surveillance up until end of week 4

Swab positivity for flu* has decreased to 2.7% in week 4, compared to 3.0% in week 3. The highest positivity is seen in those aged 15 to 44 years at 5.8%, an increase from 4.6% in week 3.

Hospital admission rates decreased in the last week and are at low activity levels. Intensive care units (ICU) and high dependency units (HDU) hospital admission rates have also decreased, and are within baseline range of activity levels**.

Flu vaccine uptake is comparable to the previous 2021 to 2022 season in a number of cohorts, with 79.4% of those aged 65 years and over having received their flu vaccine, exceeding the World Health Organization (WHO) target.

For pregnant women, vaccine uptake is 34.6%, and for those aged under 65 years in a clinical risk group, it is 48.4%.

Vaccine uptake in those aged 2 and 3 years (41.6% and 44.3% respectively) is below that seen in the previous 2 seasons, but broadly comparable to the 2018 to 2019 pre-pandemic season.

Rates of in-person contact (meeting with people from outside of the household) for week 4 of 2023 have come back up to rates seen in November to mid-December 2022 (source: UKHSA FluSurvey). UKHSA continues to monitor flu signal as more people return to work and school.

*The percentage of people who test positive among those with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories, reported through the Respiratory Datamart surveillance system.

**Influenza activity bands are set using an international standard method.

Dr Conall Watson, Consultant Epidemiologist at the UKHSA, said:

The NHS has delivered more than 20 million flu vaccines this winter and this will undoubtedly have spared many thousands from severe illness or hospitalisation and saved countless lives.

While flu levels continue to fall, winter is not over yet and we need to guard against further surges. Vaccine uptake among those aged 2 and 3 years is still well below the past 2 seasons and the number of pregnant women not taking up the offer is also a concern.

Vaccination is our best defence against flu. For pregnant women, it can protect both you and your baby against potentially serious complications, and young children are also vulnerable to serious illness. If you or your children are eligible it’s still not too late to get vaccinated.

COVID-19 surveillance up until end of week 4

Coronavirus (COVID-19) activity shows a mixed picture – with some indicators, most notably hospitalisations and Pillar 2 positivity suggesting a modest increase in activity.

The COVID-19 hospital admission rate for week 4 was 6.61 per 100,000 population, a small increase from 5.94 per 100,000 in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 are highest in the South East, with a rate of 8.67 per 100,000 population.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

It’s concerning that the recent downward trend in COVID-19 hospitalisations has started to show signs of a reverse this week. Older people are still at the highest risk of being hospitalised for COVID-19, so it’s vital those eligible get their autumn/winter booster jab – come forward before Sunday 12 February when the offer comes to an end. It will top up your immunity and keep you protected.

Two variants, CH.1.1 and XBB.1.5, have a growth advantage in the UK and we can expect further increases in transmission and hospitalisations in future weeks.

There are simple actions we can all take to prevent viruses spreading. Washing your hands regularly, catching coughs and sneezes in tissues and if possible letting fresh air into rooms and spaces will all help. If you or your child is unwell please don’t visit vulnerable people, and try to stay at home. If you do have to go out when you’re unwell, consider wearing a face covering which can help prevent you passing viruses on.

RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) surveillance up until end of week 4

RSV overall swab positivity* decreased to 2.4%.

The RSV hospitalisation rate increased slightly overall to 1.2 per 100,000.

Learn more about RSV in our blog.

*Among people with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories, reported through the Respiratory Datamart surveillance system

Norovirus surveillance up until end of week 3

Laboratory reports of Norovirus were 30% higher than the 5-season average pre-COVID-19 (2014/2015 to 2018/2019).

The number of reported enteric virus (EV) outbreaks remained below pre-pandemic levels during weeks 2 and 3, with reports 56% lower than the 5-season average for the same 2-week period prior to the pandemic.

The majority of outbreaks in weeks 2 and 3 were reported in care home settings.

If anyone is concerned about their symptoms, contact NHS 111 or talk to their GP by phone or visit the NHS norovirus webpage for more information.

Learn more about norovirus in our blog.

Richard Elson, Head of Risk Assessment and Response, Gastrointestinal Infections and Food Safety (One Health) Division at the UKHSA, said:

Laboratory reports of norovirus are almost a third higher than we would typically see at this time of year, with cases highest in those aged over 65 years. Outbreaks in care homes have also been increasing. It is incredibly important at this time not to visit places with vulnerable people such as hospitals or care homes if you have norovirus symptoms.

One of the best ways to protect yourself against norovirus is by practising good hand hygiene. This includes thorough hand washing with soap and warm water regularly but especially after using the toilet or an episode of illness and before eating or preparing food. Most people will make a full recovery within 2 to 3 days but it is important to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration, especially in the very young, elderly or those with weakened immune systems.

If you or your child does catch norovirus, you should not go to work (especially if you work with food or vulnerable people), or send your sick children back to school and don’t visit hospitals or care homes until at least 48 hours after symptoms have cleared. Make sure to wash hands and disinfect all surfaces after any episode of illness. Taking these steps will help you stop passing the virus on.

Thursday 26 January 2023

Flu surveillance up until end of week 3

Swab positivity for flu* has decreased to 2.8% in week 3, compared to 6.5% in week 2. The highest positivity is seen in those aged 5 to 14 years and in those aged 15 to 44 years at 4.5%.

Hospital admission rates decreased in the last week and are at low activity levels. Intensive care units (ICU) and high dependency units (HDU) hospital admission rates have also decreased, and approached the baseline range of activity levels**.

Hospital admission rates have decreased across all ages, most notably in adults aged 85 and over (down to 4.9 this week from 26.3 per 100,000 the previous week) and in those aged 75 to 84 years (down to 4.2 this week from 8.5 per 100,000 the previous week). Hospitalisations among children under the age of 5 years are currently the highest among age groups but have decreased (5.4 per 100,000 down from 6.0 last week).

Flu vaccine uptake is comparable to the previous 2021 to 2022 season in a number of cohorts, with 79.2% of those aged 65 years and over having received their flu vaccine, exceeding the World Health Organization target.

For pregnant women, vaccine uptake is 34.3%, and for those under 65 years in a clinical risk group, it is 48.1%.

Vaccine uptake in those aged 2 years and 3 years (41.3% and 43.9% respectively) is below that seen in the previous 2 seasons, but broadly comparable to the 2018 to 2019 pre-pandemic season.

Rates of in-person contact (meeting with people from outside of the household) for week 3 of 2023 have come back up to rates seen in November to mid-December 2022 (source: UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) FluSurvey). UKHSA continues to monitor flu signal as more people return to work and school.

*The percentage of people who test positive among those with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories, reported through the Respiratory Datamart surveillance system.

**Influenza activity bands are set using an international standard method.

COVID-19 surveillance up until end of week 3

Surveillance indicators suggest that, at a national level, coronavirus (COVID-19) activity decreased in most indicators in week 3 of 2023.

The COVID-19 hospital admission rate for week 3 was 5.97 per 100,000 population, a small decrease from 6.59 in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 are highest in the North East, with a rate of 8.28 per 100,000 population.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at UKHSA, said:

Flu and COVID-19 levels continue to fall but winter is not over yet and we need to guard against further surges. Vaccination is our best defence against flu and COVID-19. Hospital admissions for flu are still highest in the under 5s so if your children are eligible, it’s still not too late to get them vaccinated. Older people are still at the highest risk of being hospitalised for COVID-19, so it’s vital those eligible get their booster jab.

Now is the time to come forward for a COVID-19 booster if you haven’t already – whether it’s your first or if you’re eligible for an autumn booster. Come forward before Sunday 12 February, when the offer comes to an end. It will top up your immunity and keep you and your loved ones protected.

There are simple actions we can all take to prevent viruses spreading. Washing your hands regularly, catching coughs and sneezes in tissues and if possible letting fresh air into rooms and spaces will all help. If you or your child is unwell please don’t visit vulnerable people and try to stay at home. If you do have to go out when you’re unwell, consider wearing a face covering which can help prevent you passing viruses on.

RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) surveillance up until end of week 3

RSV overall swab positivity* decreased to 3.3%.

The RSV hospitalisation rate decreased overall to 1.0 per 100,000. Learn more about RSV in our blog article.

*Among people with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories, reported through the Respiratory Datamart surveillance system

Norovirus surveillance up until end of week 2

Laboratory reports of norovirus were 34% higher than the 5-season average pre-COVID-19 (2014/2015 to 2018/2019).

The number of reported enteric virus (EV) outbreaks remained below pre-pandemic levels during weeks 52 and 1, with reports 58% lower than the 5-season average for the same 2-week period prior to the pandemic.

The majority of outbreaks in weeks 52 and 1 were reported in care home settings.

If anyone is concerned about their symptoms, contact NHS 111 or talk to their GP by phone or visit the norovirus webpage on NHS.UK for more information. Learn more about norovirus in our blog article.

Dr Lesley Larkin, Surveillance Lead, Gastrointestinal Infections and Food Safety (One Health) Division at UKHSA, said:

Laboratory reports of norovirus are increasing and in recent weeks were more than a third higher than we would typically see at this time of year. Cases have increased most notably in those aged 65 and over, although we haven’t seen an increase in the number of outbreaks in care homes.

One of the best ways to protect yourself against norovirus is by practising good hand hygiene. This includes thorough hand washing with soap and warm water regularly but especially after using the toilet or an episode of illness and before eating or preparing food. Most people will make a full recovery within 1 to 2 days but it is important to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration, especially in the very young, elderly or those with weakened immune systems.

If you or your child does catch norovirus, do not go to work (especially if you work with food or vulnerable people), send your sick children back to school and don’t visit hospitals or care homes until at least 48 hours after symptoms have cleared. Make sure to wash hands and disinfect all surfaces after any episode of illness. Taking these steps will help you stop passing the virus on.

Thursday 19 January 2023

Flu surveillance up until end of week 2

Swab positivity for flu* has decreased to 6.0% in week 2, compared to 12.2% in week 1. The highest positivity is seen in 0 to 4 year olds at 8.9%.

Hospital admission rates decreased in the last week and are at medium activity levels, approaching the low activity threshold. Intensive care units (ICU) and high dependency units (HDU) hospital admission rates have also decreased, with activity levels returning back to the low activity range**.

Hospital admission rates have decreased across all ages, most notably in adults aged 85 and over (down to 24.7 this week from 45.2 per 100,000 the previous week) and those aged 75 to 84 (down to 8.0 this week from 24.1 per 100,000 the previous week). Hospitalisations among children under the age of 5 remain fairly high but have decreased (5.7 per 100,000 down from 14.3 last week).

Flu vaccine uptake is comparable to the previous 2021 to 2022 season in a number of cohorts, with 79.1% of 65 year olds and over having received their flu vaccine, exceeding the World Health Organization (WHO) target.

For pregnant women, vaccine uptake is 34.1%, and for those under 65 years in a clinical risk group, it is 47.8%.

Vaccine uptake in 2 and 3 year olds (41.0% and 43.5% respectively) is below that seen in the previous 2 seasons, but broadly comparable to the 2018 to 2019 pre-pandemic season.

Rates of in-person contact (meeting with people from outside of the household) for week 2 of 2023 have come back up to rates seen in November to mid-December 2022 (source: UKHSA FluSurvey). The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) continues to monitor flu signal as more people return to work and school.

*The percentage of people who test positive among those with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories, reported through the Respiratory Datamart surveillance system.

***Influenza activity bands are set using an international standard method.

COVID-19 surveillance up until end of week 2

Surveillance indicators suggest that, at a national level, coronavirus (COVID-19) activity has decreased in most indicators in week 2 of 2023.

The COVID-19 hospital admission rate for week 2 was 6.69 per 100,000 population, a small decrease from 8.94 in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 are highest in the North East, with a rate of 8.83 per 100,000 population.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at UKHSA, said:

The good news is that overall flu and COVID-19 levels have continued to fall in the past week. However, winter isn’t over yet and we need to guard against further surges.  Vaccination is our best defence against flu and COVID-19, so if your children are eligible for the flu vaccine, it’s still not too late to come forward. Hospital admissions for COVID-19 remain highest in the oldest age groups, so it’s vital that those eligible continue to come forward for their booster jab.

The pandemic has disrupted the usual seasonal timings of many infections, so we could see flu activity outside the usual winter period - another reason to take up the vaccines now.

There are simple actions we can all take to prevent viruses spreading. Washing your hands regularly, catching coughs and sneezes in tissues and if possible letting fresh air into rooms and spaces will all help. If you or your child is unwell please don’t visit vulnerable people and try to stay at home. If you do have to go out when you’re unwell, consider wearing a face covering can also help prevent you passing viruses on.

RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) surveillance up until end of week 2

RSV overall swab positivity* decreased to 4.0%.

The RSV hospitalisation rate decreased overall to 1.44 per 100,000.

Emergency department attendances for acute bronchiolitis decreased nationally.

Learn more about RSV in our blog.

*Among people with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories, reported through the Respiratory Datamart surveillance system

Norovirus surveillance up until end of week 1

Laboratory reports of norovirus were 34% higher than the 5-season average pre-COVID-19 (2014/2015 to 2018/2019).

The number of reported enteric virus (EV) outbreaks remained below pre-pandemic levels during weeks 52 and 1, with reports 58% lower than the 5-season average for the same 2-week period prior to the pandemic.

The majority of outbreaks in weeks 52 and 1 were reported in care home settings.

If anyone is concerned about their symptoms, contact NHS 111 or talk to their GP by phone or visit the NHS norovirus webpage for more information.

Learn more about norovirus in our blog.

Dr Lesley Larkin, Surveillance Lead, Gastrointestinal Infections and Food Safety (One Health) Division at UKHSA, said:

Laboratory reports of norovirus have increased in recent weeks and are about a third higher than we would typically see at this time of year. Cases have increased most notably in those aged 65 and over, although we haven’t seen an increase in the number of outbreaks in care homes.

One of the best ways to protect yourself against norovirus is by practising good hand hygiene. This includes thorough hand washing with soap and warm water regularly but especially after using the toilet or an episode of illness and before eating or preparing food. Most people will make a full recovery within 1 to 2 days but it is important to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration, especially in the very young, elderly or those with weakened immune systems.

If you do catch norovirus, do not go to work (especially if you work with food or vulnerable people), send children back to school or visit hospitals or care homes until at least 48 hours after symptoms have cleared. Make sure to wash hands and disinfect all surfaces after any episode of illness. Taking these steps will help you stop passing the virus on.

Thursday 12 January 2023

Flu surveillance up until end of week 1

Swab positivity for flu* has decreased to 12.2% in week 1, compared to 25.2% in week 52. The highest positivity is seen in 5 to 14-year-olds at 17.0%.

Hospital admission rates and intensive care admission rates have decreased in the last week. Hospital admission rates have decreased and intensive care activity decreased this week but remained at medium activity levels**.

Admission rates have decreased in adults aged 85 and over (down to 46.5 this week from 70.9 per 100,000 the previous week) and those aged 75 to 84 (down to 23.7 this week from 40.0 per 100,000 the previous week). Hospitalisations among children under the age of 5 also remain high but have decreased (14.0 per 100,000 down from 21.6 last week).

Flu vaccine uptake is comparable to the previous 2021 to 2022 season in a number of cohorts, with 78.7% of 65-year-olds and over having received their flu vaccine, exceeding the World Health Organization (WHO) target.

For pregnant women, vaccine uptake is 33.6%, and for those under 65 years in a clinical risk group, it is 46.7%.

Vaccine uptake in 2 and 3-year-olds (40.4% and 42.9% respectively) is below that seen in the previous 2 seasons, but broadly comparable to the 2018 to 2019 pre-pandemic season.

Rates of in-person contact (meeting with people from outside of the household) for week 1 of 2023 were comparable to those of week 52 2022, and have not returned to the levels seen in November to mid-December (source: UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) FluSurvey). UKHSA continues to monitor flu signal as more people return to work and school.

*The percentage of people who test positive among those with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories, reported through the Respiratory Datamart surveillance system.

**Influenza activity bands are set using an international standard method.

Dr Conall Watson, Consultant Epidemiologist at UKHSA, said:

Delivering more than 20 million flu vaccines is an important milestone and this will undoubtedly have spared many thousands from severe illness or hospitalisation and saved countless lives.

Flu continues to be a serious health threat this winter. If you or your children are eligible it’s still not too late to get vaccinated, to protect yourselves and those around you – and help reduce NHS pressures.

Flu vaccination gives vital protection, but there are other simple actions we can all take to prevent viruses spreading. Washing your hands regularly, catching coughs and sneezes in tissues and if possible letting fresh air into rooms and spaces will all help. If you are unwell please don’t visit vulnerable people and try to stay at home. If you do have to go out when you’re unwell, wearing a face covering can also help prevent you passing viruses on.

COVID-19 surveillance up until end of week 1

Surveillance indicators suggest that, at a national level, COVID-19 activity has decreased in most indicators in week 1 of 2023 compared to week 52 of 2022.

The COVID-19 hospital admission rate for week 1 was 9.08 per 100,000 population, a small decrease from 10.76 in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 are highest in the North East, with a rate of 13.18 per 100,000 population.

Dr Jamie Lopez Bernal, Consultant Epidemiologist for Immunisation and Countermeasures at UKHSA, said:

These early signs that COVID-19 infection levels may be in decline are encouraging and welcome, but we cannot be complacent. Today’s data shows we’re heading in the right direction but COVID-19 is still circulating at high levels and hospital admissions remain high in the oldest age groups (117.3 in those 85s and over), so it is particularly important that everyone who is eligible continues to come forward to accept their booster jab.

While COVID-19 is a mild illness for many, we must not forget that it can cause severe illness or even death for those most vulnerable in our communities. COVID-19 is still circulating at high levels, so do take up your vaccine if you are offered it.

Following some simple steps can help keep us safe from different winter illnesses in circulation. If you are unwell this winter, please try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people, particularly elderly or vulnerable people  – this will help stop infection from spreading. If you are unwell but have to go out, please consider wearing a face covering and practise good hand hygiene to limit spread.

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) surveillance up until end of week 1

RSV overall swab positivity* decreased to 5.1% with positivity in under 5-year-olds  at 13.2%. Decreases in positivity were seen in most age groups.

The RSV hospitalisation rate decreased overall, including in the under 5 years age groups.

Emergency department attendances for acute bronchiolitis decreased nationally.

Learn more about RSV in our blog.

*Among people with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories, reported through the Respiratory Datamart surveillance system

Norovirus surveillance up until end of week 52

Laboratory reports of norovirus were 10% higher than the 5-season average pre-COVID-19 (2014/2015 to 2018/2019).

The number of reported enteric virus (EV) outbreaks remained below pre-pandemic levels during weeks 51 and 52, with reports 59% lower than the 5-season average for the same 2-week period prior to the pandemic.

While overall EV outbreaks remain lower across all settings than during the same period in the 5 seasons pre-COVID-19, the majority of outbreaks in weeks 51 and 52 were reported in care home settings.

If anyone is concerned about their symptoms, contact NHS 111 or talk to their GP by phone or visit the NHS norovirus webpage for more information.

Learn more about norovirus in our blog.

Richard Elson, Head of Risk and Response, Gastrointestinal Infections and Food Safety (One Health) Division at UKHSA, said:

Laboratory reports of norovirus at the end of 2022 were higher than we would expect to see at that time of year. One of the best ways to protect yourself against norovirus is by practising good hand hygiene. This includes thorough hand washing with soap and warm water regularly but especially after using the toilet or an episode of illness and before eating or preparing food. Most people will make a full recovery within 1 to 2 days but it is important to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration, especially in the very young, elderly or those with weakened immune systems.

If you do catch norovirus, do not go to work (especially if you work with food or vulnerable people), send children back to school or visit hospitals or care homes until at least 48 hours after symptoms have cleared. Make sure to wash hands and disinfect all surfaces after any episode of illness. Taking these steps will help you stop passing the virus on.

Thursday 5 January 2023

Flu surveillance up until end of week 52

Due to reporting delays and bank holidays over Christmas and New Year, findings should be interpreted with caution.

Swab positivity for flu* has decreased in week 52 compared to week 51 and is now at 23.6%; it is highest in 15 to 44-year-olds at 31.0%. However, the figure for week 52 remains higher than week 50.

Hospital admission rates and intensive care admission rates increased further in recent weeks. Hospital admissions increased in week 51 to very high activity levels. The rate in week 52 was in the medium activity range. Intensive care activity increased in week 51 before decreasing slightly in week 52 remaining within medium activity levels**.

Admission rates have increased in adults aged 85 and over (61.8 in week 52 and 66.2 per 100,000 in week 51 compared with 46.9 in week 50) and those aged 75 to 84 (31.8 in week 52 and 49.9 per 100,000 in week 51 from 24.8 in week 50). Hospitalisations among children under the age of 5 also remain high (14.4 per 100,000 down from 38.4 and 24.4 in the last 2 weeks).

Flu vaccine uptake is comparable to the previous 2021 to 2022 season in a number of cohorts, with 78.4% of 65-year-olds and over having received their flu vaccine, exceeding the World Health Organization (WHO) target.

For pregnant women, vaccine uptake is 33.2%, and for those under 65 years in a clinical risk group, it is 46.3%.

Vaccine uptake in 2 and 3-year-olds (39.9% and 42.3% respectively) is below that seen in the previous 2 seasons, but broadly comparable to the 2018 to 2019 pre-pandemic season.

*The percentage of people who test positive among those with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories, reported through the Respiratory Datamart surveillance system.

**Influenza activity bands are set using an international standard method.

COVID-19 surveillance up until end of week 52

Due to reporting delays and bank holidays over Christmas and New Year findings should be interpreted with caution. 

Surveillance indicators suggest that, at a national level, coronavirus (COVID-19) activity has decreased across all indicators in week 52 of 2022 compared to week 51.

The COVID-19 hospital admission rate for week 52 was 10.71 per 100,000 population, a decrease from 11.79 in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 are highest in the South East, with a rate of 14.29 per 100,000 population.

The COVID-19 autumn booster vaccination campaign commenced in early September. By the end of week 52, 64.1% of all people aged over 50 years old had been vaccinated with an autumn booster dose

Dame Jenny Harries, Chief Executive of the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

In the week leading up to Christmas, we saw a dramatic increase in the number of people admitted to hospital with flu, with the highest levels of hospital admissions we’ve seen in at least a decade. Admissions were particularly high in the under 5s and those 65 and over.

I urge all those eligible to come forward for their free flu vaccination, which is the best way to protect yourself from serious illness. Uptake of the flu vaccine is particularly low in children aged  2 and 3 so if your child is eligible please urgently take up the offer. 

COVID-19 also continues to circulate at high levels and anyone eligible for a booster who has yet to take it up should come forward.

Frequent handwashing with soap and warm water, catching coughs and sneezes in tissues and keeping your home well ventilated can also help stop viruses from spreading.

Try to stay home when unwell and if you do have to go out, wearing a face covering can help prevent germs spreading to other people. Don’t visit vulnerable people if you’re unwell.

RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) surveillance up until end of week 52

RSV overall swab positivity* decreased to 5.9% with positivity in under 5-year-olds at 13.5%. Decreases in positivity were seen in all age groups.

RSV admissions for the under 5s have also dropped but remain high. Hospital emergency departments continue to see many infants for bronchiolitis caused by RSV infection.

Learn more about RSV in our blog.

*Among people with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories, reported through the Respiratory Datamart surveillance system

Dr Conall Watson, Consultant Epidemiologist at UKHSA, said:

RSV can be most severe for children under 2 – and particularly nasty for babies and those born prematurely. Please carry on with good hygiene habits to protect yourself and others from common seasonal illnesses. This means washing your hands regularly, using a tissue to catch coughs or sneezes and washing your hands afterwards, and staying away from others if you feel unwell.

If you are concerned your child has cold symptoms with unusual breathing or has trouble feeding, please contact your GP or NHS 111. If your child seems seriously ill, trust your judgement and get emergency care.

Norovirus surveillance up until end of week 51

Laboratory reports of norovirus have remained lower than the 5-season average pre-COVID-19 (2014/2015 to 2018/2019) and were 16% lower in weeks 50 and 51).

The number of reported enteric virus (EV) outbreaks also remained below pre-pandemic levels during weeks 50 and 51, with reports 61% lower than the 5-season average for the same 2-week period prior to the pandemic.

While overall EV outbreaks remain lower across all settings than during the same period in the 5 seasons pre-COVID-19, the majority of outbreaks in weeks 50 and 51 were reported in care home settings.

If anyone is concerned about their symptoms, contact NHS 111 or talk to their GP by phone or visit the NHS norovirus webpage for more information

Learn more about norovirus in our blog.

Richard Elson, Head of Risk and Response, Gastrointestinal Infections and Food Safety (One Health) Division at UKHSA, said:

Cases of norovirus are lower than in previous years, however, it is still important to protect yourself against the virus and prevent it from spreading. One of the best ways to protect against norovirus is by practising good hand hygiene. This includes thorough hand washing with soap and warm water regularly but especially after using the toilet or an episode of illness and before eating or preparing food.

Most people will make a full recovery within 1 to 2 days but it is important to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration, especially in the very young, elderly or those with weakened immune systems.

If you do catch norovirus, do not go to work (especially if you work with food or vulnerable people), send children back to school or visit hospitals or care homes until at least 48 hours after symptoms have cleared. This will help you stop passing the virus on.

Thursday 22 December 2022

Flu surveillance up until end of week 50

Swab positivity for flu* has increased further and is now at 26.4%; it remains highest in 5 to 14-year-olds at 40.1%.

Hospital admission rates and intensive care admission rates have increased further in the last week. Hospital admissions have continued to increase sharply within the medium band and intensive care activity remains at medium activity levels**.

Admission rates have increased significantly in adults aged 85 and over (up to 42.04 this week from 25.40 per 100,000 the previous week) and those aged 75 to 84 (up to 19.00 this week from 11.81 per 100,000 the previous week). Hospitalisations among children under the age of 5 also remain high (19.42 per 100,000, down from 21.16 last week).

Flu vaccine uptake is comparable to the previous 2021 to 2022 season in a number of cohorts, with more than 77.9% of 65-year-olds and over having received their flu vaccine, exceeding the World Health Organization (WHO) target.

For pregnant women, vaccine uptake is 32.4%, and for those under 65 years in a clinical risk group, it is 45.5%.

Vaccine uptake in 2 and 3-year-olds (38.8% and 40.9% respectively) is below that seen in the previous 2 seasons, but broadly comparable to the 2018 to 2019 pre-pandemic season.

*The percentage of people who test positive among those with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories, reported through the Respiratory Datamart surveillance system.

**Influenza activity bands are set using an international standard method.

Dr Susan Hopkins, Chief Medical Advisor at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

Hospitalisations have increased dramatically in those aged 75 and over in the past week, with admissions among children under 5 remaining high. ICU admissions have also increased this week.

NHS services are already under pressure so it’s more important than ever to get protected with the flu vaccine and help keep yourself out of hospital.

Most children aged 2 and 3 can get a nasal spray flu vaccine through their GP surgery. If you are pregnant or in a clinical risk group, you are also at greater risk, so it is even more important you take up the offer. Anyone over 50 can get a free flu or COVID-19 booster vaccine which can be booked online.

We can all take actions to stop flu and other infections spreading, if you feel unwell try to stay home, and if you have to go out – wear a face covering in enclosed spaces. Wash your hands regularly and try to keep rooms well ventilated.

COVID-19 surveillance up until end of week 50

Surveillance indicators suggest that, at a national level, COVID-19 activity has increased across all indicators in week 50 of 2022.

The COVID-19 hospital admission rate for week 50 was 9.56 per 100,000 population, an increase from 6.61 in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 are highest in the South West, with a rate of 15.21 per 100,000 population.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Director of Public Health Programmes at UKHSA, said:

We are seeing a rise in cases and hospital admissions for both flu and COVID-19 as people continue to mix indoors this winter. Hospitalisation rates due to COVID-19 remain highest in those aged 65 and over, so it is vital that everyone who is eligible continues to come forward to accept their booster jab before the end of the year.

Both COVID-19 and flu can cause severe illness or even death for those most vulnerable in our communities, and so it is also important to avoid contact with other people if you are unwell in order to help stop infections spreading over the Christmas and new year period.

RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) surveillance up until end of week 50

RSV overall swab positivity* decreased to 6.5% in, with positivity in those aged under 5 at 15.9%.

RSV admissions for the under 5s have also dropped but remain high. Hospital emergency departments continue to see many infants for bronchiolitis caused by RSV infection.

Learn more about RSV in our blog.

*Among people with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories, reported through the Respiratory Datamart surveillance system

Dr Conall Watson, Consultant Epidemiologist at UKHSA, said:

RSV can be more severe for children under 2 – and sometimes particularly nasty for babies and those born prematurely. In the run up to Christmas, when the weather is getting colder, everyone should try and avoid spreading respiratory viruses to young children – use tissues, wash hands and avoid visiting babies if you are unwell.

If you are concerned your child has cold symptoms with unusual breathing or has trouble feeding, please contact your GP or NHS 111. If your child seems seriously ill, trust your judgement and get emergency care.

Norovirus surveillance up until end of week 49

Laboratory reports of norovirus have remained lower than the 5-season average pre-COVID-19 (2014/2015 to 2018/2019) and were 9% lower in weeks 48 and 49.

The number of reported enteric virus (EV) outbreaks also remained below pre-pandemic levels during weeks 48 and 49, with reports 59% lower than the 5-season average for the same 2-week period prior to the pandemic.

Overall EV outbreaks across all settings remain lower than during the same period in the 5 seasons pre-COVID-19.

If anyone is concerned about their symptoms, contact NHS 111 or talk to their GP by phone or visit the NHS norovirus webpage for more information

Learn more about norovirus in our blog.

Dr Lesley Larkin, Surveillance Lead, Gastrointestinal Infections and Food Safety (One Health) Division at UKHSA, said:

Norovirus is passed on by close contact with people with the infection, eating food contaminated with the virus or by touching surfaces where the virus has landed. Alcohol gels do not kill norovirus, so help stop the spread by washing your hands with soap and warm water after using the toilet and before preparing food. Make sure to wash hands and disinfect all surfaces after any episode of illness.

If you do catch norovirus, do not return to work (especially if you work with food or vulnerable people), send children back to school or visit hospitals or care homes until at least 48 hours after symptoms have cleared. This will help you stop passing the virus on.

Thursday 15 December 2022

Flu surveillance up until end of week 49

Swab positivity for flu* has increased further and is now at 20.2%; it remains highest in 5 to 14-year-olds at 32.9%.

Hospital admission rates and intensive care admission rates have increased further in the last week. Hospital admissions have increased within the medium band and intensive care activity is now at medium activity levels**.

Admission rates have more than doubled in adults aged 85 and over (up to 23.11 this week from 10.70 per 100,000 the previous week) and children under the age of 5 (up to 20.70 this week from 8.41 per 100,000 the previous week).

Flu vaccine uptake is comparable to the previous 2021 to 2022 season in a number of cohorts, with more than 77% of 65-year-olds and over having received their flu vaccine, exceeding the World Health Organization (WHO) target.

For pregnant women, vaccine uptake is 31.5%, and for those under 65 years in a clinical risk group, it is 44.4%.

Vaccine uptake in 2 and 3-year-olds (37.4% and 39.5% respectively) is below that seen in the previous 2 seasons, but broadly comparable to the 2018 to 2019 pre-pandemic season.

*The percentage of people who test positive among those with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories, reported through the Respiratory Datamart surveillance system.

**Influenza activity bands are set using an international standard method.

Dr Conall Watson, Consultant Epidemiologist at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said: 

Flu is now circulating widely and we have seen a sharp rise in the rate of hospitalisations for flu this week, particularly among the under 5s and over 85s.

Admissions are now at the highest point since the 2017 to 2018 season and we are expecting case numbers to continue increasing as we move further into winter.

The flu vaccine offers the best protection against severe illness and it’s not too late for everyone eligible to get it. Uptake is particularly low in those aged 2 and 3 so if your child is eligible please take up the offer.

COVID-19 surveillance up until end of week 49

COVID-19 activity showed a mixed picture in week 49 – with some surveillance indicators, most notably hospitalisations and care home outbreaks, suggesting a modest increase in activity.

The COVID-19 hospital admission rate for week 49 was 6.61 per 100,000 population, a small increase from 5.36 in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 are highest in the South West, with a rate of 9.68 per 100,000 population.

Dr Jamie Lopez Bernal, Consultant Epidemiologist for Immunisation and Countermeasures at UKHSA said:

We’re seeing rises in flu, COVID-19 and other winter viruses as people mix more indoors this winter. COVID-19 hospitalisations are highest in the oldest age groups, so it is particularly important that everyone who is eligible continues to come forward to accept their booster jab.

While COVID-19 and flu can be mild infections for many, we must not forget that they can cause severe illness or even death for those most vulnerable in our communities.

If you are unwell this winter, please try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people, particularly elderly or vulnerable people  – this will help stop infection from spreading.

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) surveillance up until end of week 49

RSV overall swab positivity* decreased to 7.7% in week 49, with positivity in under 5-year-olds decreasing but remaining high at 20%.

RSV admissions for the under 5s have also dropped but remain high. Hospital emergency departments continue to see many infants for bronchiolitis caused by RSV infection.

Learn more about RSV in our blog.

*among people with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories, reported through the Respiratory Datamart surveillance system

Dr Conall Watson, Consultant Epidemiologist at UKHSA, said:

RSV can be more severe for children under 2 – and sometimes particularly nasty for babies and those born prematurely. In the run up to Christmas, when the weather is getting colder, everyone should try and avoid spreading respiratory viruses to young children – use tissues, wash hands and avoid visiting babies if you are unwell.

If you are concerned your child has cold symptoms with unusual breathing or has trouble feeding, please contact your GP or NHS 111. If your child seems seriously ill, trust your judgement and get emergency care.

Norovirus surveillance up until end of week 48

Laboratory reports of norovirus have remained lower than the 5-season average pre-COVID-19 (2014/2015 to 2018/2019) in recent weeks and were (15% lower in weeks 47 and 48).

The number of reported enteric virus (EV) outbreaks also remained below pre-pandemic levels during weeks 47 and 48 with reports 61% lower than the 5-season average for the same 2-week period prior to the pandemic.

Overall EV outbreaks across all settings remain lower than during the same period in the 5 seasons pre-COVID-19.

If anyone is concerned about their symptoms, contact NHS 111 or talk to their GP by phone or visit the NHS norovirus webpage for more information.

Learn more about norovirus in our blog.

Dr Lesley Larkin, Surveillance Lead, Gastrointestinal Infections and Food Safety (One Health) Division at UKHSA, said:

Norovirus is passed on by close contact with people with the infection, eating food contaminated with the virus or by touching surfaces where the virus has landed. Alcohol gels do not kill norovirus, so help stop the spread by washing your hands with soap and warm water after using the toilet and before preparing food. Make sure to wash hands and disinfect all surfaces after any episode of illness.

If you do catch norovirus, do not return to work (especially if you work with food or vulnerable people), send children back to school or visit hospitals or care homes until at least 48 hours after symptoms have cleared. This will help you stop passing the virus on.

Thursday 8 December 2022

Flu surveillance up until end of week 48

Swab positivity for flu* has increased further and is now at 14.3%; it remains highest in 15 to 44-year-olds at 24.3%.

Hospital admission rates and intensive care admission rates have increased further in the last week, admissions are now at medium activity levels and intensive care activity has increased within the medium band**.

The highest rates of admission are being seen in children under the age of 5 (6.57 per 100,000) and adults aged 75 to 84 years old (9.3 per 100,000).

Flu vaccine uptake is comparable to the previous 2021 to 2022 season in a number of cohorts, with more than 75% of over 65-year-olds having received their flu vaccine, exceeding the World Health Organization (WHO) target.

For pregnant women, vaccine uptake is 30.5 per cent, just under 3 percentage points lower than this time last season, and around 4 percentage points lower than 2 seasons ago.

Vaccine uptake in 2 and 3-year-olds is below that seen in the previous 2 seasons (by 8 percentage points compared to last season, and a little over 14 percentage points in comparison to the season before last (2020 to 2021), but broadly comparable to the 2018 to 2019 pre-pandemic season.

*The percentage of people who test positive among those with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories, reported through the Respiratory Datamart surveillance system.

**Influenza activity bands are set using an international standard method.

Dr Conall Watson, Consultant Epidemiologist at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said: 

With winter now upon us, we are seeing flu circulating more widely. The NHS frontline has already delivered millions of vaccines to those most at risk from what can be a deadly virus. With Christmas fast approaching, if you are eligible and have not yet been vaccinated, it can take a fortnight or so for the flu vaccine to provide protection.

Nobody wants to see their loved ones be sick or in hospital with flu over Christmas, so to ensure your family are ready to enjoy the festive season together don’t hesitate and book your vaccine today.

Background

Parents of children in eligible school years should make sure their kids take up the offer of flu nasal spray vaccine at the school session or in community catch-up clinics.

COVID-19 surveillance up until end of week 48

Surveillance indicators suggest that, at a national level, COVID-19 activity has decreased in some indicators but was stable or increased slightly in others in week 48 of 2022.

The COVID-19 hospital admission rate for week 48 was 5.45 per 100,000 population, a small increase from 4.51 in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 are highest in the North East, with a rate of 7.56 per 100,000 population.

Dr Jamie Lopez Bernal, Consultant Epidemiologist for Immunisation and Countermeasures at UKHSA, said:

During the winter, we would expect to see a rise in COVID-19 activity and other winter viruses as people are mixing more indoors again. COVID-19 hospitalisations are highest in the oldest age groups, so it is particularly important that everyone who is eligible continues to come forward to accept their booster jab.

While COVID-19 and flu can be mild infections for many, we must not forget that they can cause severe illness or even death for those most vulnerable in our communities.

If you are unwell this winter, please try to stay at home and avoid contact with vulnerable people – this will help stop infection from spreading.

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) surveillance up until end of week 48

RSV overall swab positivity* decreased to 9.3% in week 48, with positivity in under 5-year-olds remaining high but decreasing to 26.8%. 

Learn more about RSV in our blog.

*among people with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories, reported through the Respiratory Datamart surveillance system

Dr Conall Watson, Consultant Epidemiologist at UKHSA, said:

Unfortunately, in the run up to the festive season, it is also the season for viruses like RSV, which can be more severe for children under 2 – and sometimes particularly nasty for babies and those born prematurely. Everyone should try and avoid spreading respiratory viruses to young children – use tissues, wash hands and avoid visiting babies if you are unwell.

If you are concerned your child has cold symptoms with unusual breathing or has trouble feeding, please contact your GP or NHS 111. If your child seems seriously ill, trust your judgement and get emergency care.

Norovirus surveillance up until end of week 47

Laboratory reports of norovirus have remained lower than the 5-season average pre-COVID-19 (2014/2015 to 2018/2019) in recent weeks and were 26% lower in weeks 46 and 47.

The number of reported enteric virus (EV) outbreaks also remained below pre-pandemic levels during weeks 46 and 47 with reports 55% lower than the 5-season average for the same 2-week period prior to the pandemic.

Overall EV outbreaks across all settings remain lower than during the same period in the 5 seasons pre-COVID-19.

If anyone is concerned about their symptoms, contact NHS 111 or talk to their GP by phone or visit the NHS norovirus webpage for more information.

Learn more about norovirus in our blog.

Dr Lesley Larkin, Surveillance Lead, Gastrointestinal Infections and Food Safety (One Health) Division at UKHSA, said:

Norovirus is passed on by close contact with people with the infection, eating food contaminated with the virus or by touching surfaces where the virus has landed. Alcohol gels do not kill norovirus, so help stop the spread by washing your hands with soap and warm water after using the toilet and before preparing food. Make sure to wash hands and disinfect all surfaces after any episode of illness.

If you do catch norovirus, do not return to work (especially if you work with food or vulnerable people), send children back to school or visit hospitals or care homes until at least 48 hours after symptoms have cleared. This will help you stop passing the virus on.

Thursday 1 December 2022

Flu surveillance up until end of week 47

Swab positivity for flu* has increased further and is now at 10.5%; it remains highest in 5 to 14-year-olds at 18.5%.

Hospital admission rates and intensive care admission rates have increased further in the last week, admissions are now at medium activity levels and intensive care activity has increased within the medium band**.

The highest rates of admission are being seen in children under the age of 5 (6.88 per 100,000) and adults aged 85 and over (6.94 per 100,000).

Flu vaccine uptake is comparable to the previous 2021 to 2022 season in a number of cohorts, with more than 75% of over 65-year-olds having received their flu vaccine, exceeding the World Health Organization target.

For pregnant women, vaccine uptake is 29.3%, just over 5 percentage points lower than this time last season, and around 3 percentage points lower than 2 seasons ago.

Vaccine uptake in 2 and 3-year-olds is below that seen in the previous 2 seasons. It is just over 9.5 percentage points lower than last season and a little over 14 percentage points lower than 2020 to 2021, but broadly comparable to the 2018 to 2019 pre-pandemic season.

*The percentage of people who test positive among those with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories, reported through the Respiratory Datamart surveillance system.

**Influenza activity bands are set using an international standard method.

Dr Conall Watson, Consultant Epidemiologist at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said: 

Flu vaccine uptake among pregnant women and young children is low for this time of year. This is concerning given the expected reduced levels of natural immunity across the population following 2 winters with little flu.

Getting the vaccine when you are pregnant can protect you and your baby against potentially serious complications.

It can take a couple of weeks to build up full immunity after the vaccine so it is important to book yours as soon as possible to get protected in time for the festive season.

Background

Parents of children in eligible school years should make sure their kids take up the offer of flu nasal spray vaccine at the school session or in community catch-up clinics.

COVID-19 surveillance up until end of week 47

Surveillance indicators suggest that, at a national level, COVID-19 activity has decreased in most indicators in week 47 of 2022.

The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) in care homes due to COVID-19 increased in England in week 47 to 83 compared to 49 in the previous week.

The COVID-19 hospital admission rate for week 47 was 4.69 per 100,000 population, a small increase from 4.45 in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 are highest in the East Midlands, with a rate of 6.07 per 100,000 population.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Director of Public Health Programmes at UKHSA, said:

As we head into the coldest part of the year, we would expect to see the prevalence of COVID-19 and other winter viruses begin to increase as people mix more indoors. This is what the data is beginning to show. COVID-19 hospitalisations are highest in the oldest age groups, so it is particularly important that everyone who is eligible comes forward to receive their booster jab.

While COVID-19 and flu can be mild infections for many, we must not forget that they can cause severe illness or even death for those most vulnerable in our communities.

If you are unwell this winter, please try to stay at home and avoid contact with vulnerable people – this will help stop infections spreading.

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) surveillance up until end of week 47

RSV overall swab positivity* increased to 12.7% in week 47, with the highest positivity in under 5-year-olds remaining elevated at 34.4%. 

Learn more about RSV in our blog.

*among people with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories, reported through the Respiratory Datamart surveillance system

Dr Conall Watson, Consultant Epidemiologist at UKHSA, said:

Over recent weeks RSV rates have been rising across all age groups, most notably in the under 5s. RSV is unfortunately common at this time of the year and can be severe for children under 2 – particularly for babies and those born prematurely. Everyone should try and avoid spreading respiratory viruses to young children – use tissues, wash hands and avoid visiting babies if you are unwell.

If you are worried your child has cold symptoms with unusual breathing or trouble feeding, please contact your GP or NHS 111. If your child seems seriously ill, trust your judgement and get emergency care.

Norovirus surveillance up until end of week 46

Laboratory reports of norovirus have remained stable in recent weeks and were 32% lower in weeks 45 and 46 than the 5-season average pre-COVID-19 (2014/2015 to 2018/2019).

The number of reported enteric virus (EV) outbreaks remained below pre-pandemic levels during weeks 45 and 46 with reports 63% lower than the 5-season average for the same 2-week period prior to the pandemic.

Overall EV outbreaks in care homes and hospitals remain notably lower than during the same period in the 5 seasons pre-COVID-19.

If anyone is concerned about their symptoms, contact NHS 111 or talk to their GP by phone or visit the NHS norovirus webpage for more information.

Learn more about norovirus in our blog.

Lesley Larkin, Surveillance Lead, Gastrointestinal Infections and Food Safety at UKHSA, said:

Norovirus is passed on by close contact with people with the infection, eating food contaminated with the virus or by touching surfaces where the virus has landed. Remember that alcohol gels do not kill norovirus so help stop the spread by washing your hands with soap and warm water after using the toilet and before preparing food. Disinfecting all surfaces after any episode of illness.

If you do catch norovirus, do not return to work (especially if you work with food or vulnerable people), send children back to school or visit hospitals or care homes until at least 48 hours after symptoms have cleared. This will help you stop passing the virus on.

Thursday 24 November 2022

Flu surveillance up until end of week 46

Swab positivity for flu* has increased slightly and is now at 8.2%; it is highest in 5 to 14-year-olds at 18%, followed by 15 to 44-year-olds at 15.8%.

Hospital admission rates and intensive care admission rates have increased notably in the last week, to medium activity levels for intensive care and just below the medium activity threshold for admissions.

Flu vaccine uptake is comparable to the previous 2021 to 2022 season in a number of cohorts, but notably primary school children exceed previous records – with uptake numbers over 21% (receiving the nasal spray vaccine) between 1 September and 31 October. This is up 7% on the previous year and up to 3% higher than the previous record year (2018 to 2019).

More than 7 out of 10 over 65-year-olds have also received their flu vaccine.

*The percentage of people who test positive among those with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories, reported through the Respiratory Datamart surveillance system.

Dr Conall Watson, Consultant Epidemiologist at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said: 

It’s encouraging to see record rates of primary school children getting their nasal spray flu vaccine so far this year with over 21% vaccinated by the end of October. Last week, 5 to 14-year-olds were the age most likely to test positive for flu so it’s still important for parents to ensure their children get the vaccine for the best protection. It will also help stop the spread to other more vulnerable family members, especially grandparents, very young children or those with health conditions. If you’ve missed the school vaccination appointment then there are NHS community clinics available.

It’s also great to see that more than 7 out of 10 over 65-year-olds have had their flu vaccine, ensuring they have the best protection as we head into winter. If you haven’t had your flu or COVID-19 vaccine and are over 50, pregnant or have a long term health condition there is still time, so make sure you book an appointment as soon as you can.

COVID-19 surveillance up until end of week 46

Surveillance indicators suggest that, at a national level, COVID-19 activity has decreased in most indicators in week 46 of 2022.

The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) decreased in England in week 46 to 122 compared to 123 in the previous week.

The COVID-19 hospital admission rate for week 46 was 4.38 per 100,000 population, a decrease from 5.07 in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 are highest in the South East, with a rate of 5.48 per 100,000 population.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Director of Public Health Programmes at UKHSA, said:

The continued decline in COVID-19 cases across the country is reassuring. Declining hospitalisations in over 50s is also a result of so many people having come forward for their booster. We urge those who have not had their booster this autumn to do so as soon as possible. Vaccination remains the best way to protect yourself, your family and the NHS, particularly as we head into winter.

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) surveillance up until end of week 46

RSV overall swab positivity* increased to 11.7% in week 46, with the highest positivity in under 5-year-olds remaining elevated at 33.2%. 

Learn more about RSV in our blog.

*Among people with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories, reported through the Respiratory Datamart surveillance system

Dr Conall Watson, Consultant Epidemiologist at UKHSA, said:

As is typical for this time of the year, RSV rates continue to rise across all ages, with the highest rates of detection and hospitalisations in under 5s. For children under 2, RSV can be severe – particularly for babies and those born prematurely. Use a tissue to catch coughs and sneezes and always wash your hands afterwards.

Never smoke near a baby and avoid visiting babies if you are ill. If you are worried your child has cold symptoms with any unusual breathing or trouble feeding, please contact your GP or NHS 111. If your child seems seriously ill, trust your judgement and get emergency care.

Norovirus surveillance up until end of week 45

Laboratory reports of norovirus have remained stable in recent weeks and were 18% lower in weeks 44 and 45 than the 5-season average pre-COVID-19 (2014/2015 to 2018/2019).

The number of reported enteric virus (EV) outbreaks has increased during weeks 44 and 45 but was still 45% lower than the same period in the 5 seasons pre-COVID-19.

Overall, EV outbreaks in care homes and hospitals remain notably lower than during the same period in the 5 seasons pre-COVID-19. However, outbreaks in educational settings returned to comparable levels to the 5-season average.

If anyone is concerned about their symptoms they can contact NHS 111, talk to their GP by phone or visit the NHS norovirus webpage for more information.

Learn more about norovirus in our blog.

Richard Elson, Head of Risk Assessment and Response, Gastrointestinal Infections and Food Safety at UKHSA, said:

Norovirus is passed on by close contact with people with the infection, eating food contaminated with the virus or by touching surfaces where the virus has landed. Remember that alcohol gels do not kill norovirus so help stop the spread by washing your hands with soap and warm water after using the toilet and before preparing food. Also disinfect all surfaces after any episode of illness.

If you do catch norovirus, do not return to work (especially if you work with food or vulnerable people),  send children back to school or visit hospitals or care homes until at least 48 hours after symptoms have cleared. This will help you stop passing the virus on.

Thursday 17 November 2022

Flu surveillance up until end of week 45

Swab positivity for flu* has remained stable and is now at 6.9%; it is highest in 5 to 14-year-olds at 12.3%, followed by 15 to 44-year-olds at 10.5%.

Hospitalisation rates remain stable overall but have increased in the under 5s and 75 and over age groups compared with the previous week. Rates are highest in the 85 and over age group at 3.87 admissions per 100,000 people, with the under 5s (2.96 per 100,000) and 75 to 84-year-olds (2.95 per 100,000) close behind. Hospital admission rates and intensive care admission rates remain stable overall at slightly above what would be expected for this time of year (baseline).

Vaccine uptake for flu is comparable to the previous 2021 to 2022 season in a number of cohorts: those aged 65 and over (71.9%), those under 65 years in clinical risk groups (37.2%) and for pregnant women (25.9%). Uptake is lower however in those aged 2 and 3 years old (27.9% and 29.7% respectively).

*the percentage of people who test positive among those with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories, reported through the Respiratory Datamart surveillance system.

Dr Conall Watson, Consultant Epidemiologist at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:  

Children under 5 continue to be hospitalised with flu this autumn. Children aged 2 and 3 can be protected by an NHS flu vaccine, but the numbers getting what is a straightforward nasal spray vaccine are still low – less than 30%. As we go into winter we expect flu levels to increase. Nobody wants their child to get sick. I strongly urge parents to book with their local GP nurse as soon as possible.

COVID-19 surveillance up until end of week 45

Surveillance indicators suggest that, at a national level, COVID-19 activity has decreased in most indicators in week 45 of 2022.

The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) decreased in England in week 45 to 123 compared to 140 in the previous week.

The COVID-19 hospital admission rate for week 45 was 5.00 per 100,000 population, a decrease from 5.37 in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 are highest in the South West, with a rate of 6.22 per 100,000 population.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Director of Public Health Programmes at UKHSA, said:

The success of the booster vaccine programme so far means that COVID-19 cases and hospitalisations are still declining across the UK. Vaccination remains the best way to protect yourself, your family and the NHS, particularly as we head into winter, so we continue to urge anyone who has not had their booster this autumn to do so as soon as possible.

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) surveillance up until end of week 45

RSV overall swab positivity* increased to 9.2% in week 45, with the highest positivity in under 5-year-olds remaining elevated at 27.5%. 

Learn more about RSV in our blog.

*among people with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories, reported through the Respiratory Datamart surveillance system

Dr Conall Watson, Consultant Epidemiologist at UKHSA, said:

We continue to see RSV cases, as is typical at this time of year, particularly in young children. For children under 2, RSV can be severe – particularly for babies and those born prematurely. Use a tissue to catch coughs and sneezes and wash your hands afterwards to reduce the spread to the most vulnerable.

Never smoke near a baby and avoid visiting babies if you are ill. If you are worried your child has cold symptoms with any unusual breathing or trouble feeding, please contact your GP or NHS 111. If your child seems seriously ill, trust your judgement and get emergency care.

Norovirus surveillance up until end of week 44

Laboratory reports of norovirus have decreased in recent weeks and were 10% lower in weeks 43 and 44 than the 5-season average pre-COVID-19 (2014/2015 to 2018/2019).

The number of reported enteric virus (EV) outbreaks have decreased during weeks 43 and 44 and overall remains 56% lower than the same period in the 5 seasons pre-COVID-19.

Overall EV outbreaks in care homes and hospitals remain notably lower than during the same period in the 5 seasons pre-COVID-19. The overall reduction in reported outbreaks during the 2 week period compared to 5-season average is mostly due to the decrease reported in educational settings during week 43, and coincides with the October half term school holidays.

Learn more about norovirus in our blog.

Dr Lesley Larkin, Head of surveillance, gastrointestinal infections and food safety at UKHSA, said:

Norovirus is passed on by close contact with people with the infection or touching surfaces that the virus has landed on. It is important to wash your hands with soap and warm water after using the toilet and before preparing food. Remember that alcohol gels do not kill norovirus. Disinfecting all surfaces after any episode of illness can help the spread of the virus.

If you do get norovirus, it is easy to become dehydrated, so drink plenty of fluids to prevent this. Those experiencing diarrhoea and vomiting should not return to work or send unwell children to school until at least 48 hours after symptoms have cleared. If anyone is concerned about their symptoms, contact NHS 111 or talk to their GP by phone or visit the NHS norovirus webpage for more information.

Thursday 10 November 2022

Flu surveillance up until end of week 44

Swab positivity for flu* has remained stable and is now at 6.6%; it is highest in 15 to 44-year-olds at 12.4%, followed by 5 to 14-year-olds at 11.2%.

Hospitalisation rates for flu are stable overall but are now slightly exceeding the baseline threshold for the first time this season. There is some week-to-week variability: the over 75s and under 5s remain the highest but have dropped, while rates in the 15 to 44-year-olds have increased. Intensive care admission rates remain above baseline. are highest in those aged 75 to 84 at 1.67 followed by those aged 85 and over at 1.49.

The hospitalisation rates in children aged 0 to 4 are 1.47. Intensive care admission rates remain above baseline.

Vaccine uptake for flu compared to the previous 2021 to 2022 season is comparable for those aged 65-year-olds and over (68%), for those under 65 years in clinical risk groups (33.7%) and for pregnant women (23.5%), but lower in those aged 2 and 3 years old (24% and 25.9% respectively).

*the percentage of people who test positive among those with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories, reported through the Respiratory Datamart surveillance system.

Dr Conall Watson, Consultant Epidemiologist at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

Hospitalisation rates for flu continue to be highest among those aged 75 and over but we are also seeing comparable rates in young children under 5. Older people are typically at higher risk of severe illness but young children can also become very sick so it’s important parents ensure their child gets the nasal spray vaccine by booking an appointment at their local GP.

COVID-19 surveillance up until end of week 44

Surveillance indicators suggest that, at a national level, COVID-19 activity has decreased in most indicators in week 44 of 2022.

The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) decreased in England in week 44 to 140 compared to 182 in the previous week.

The COVID-19 hospital admission rate for week 44 was 5.41 per 100,000 population, a decrease from 7.71 in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 are highest in the North East, with a rate of 7.38 per 100,000 population.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Director of Public Health Programmes at UKHSA, said:

It is hugely encouraging that COVID-19 cases and hospitalisations are still in decline across the UK. This goes to show how effective the vaccine programme continues to be and we thank everyone who has come forward for their latest vaccination so far. However, it is still vital that anyone who has not had their booster this autumn does so as soon as possible. Vaccination is still the best way to protect yourself, your family and the NHS, particularly as we head into winter.

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) surveillance up until end of week 44

RSV overall swab positivity* decreased slightly to 7.4% in week 44, with the highest positivity in under 5-year-olds remaining elevated at 29.3% and an increase in 5 to 14-year-olds. 

Learn more about RSV in our blog.

*among people with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories, reported through the Respiratory Datamart surveillance system.

Dr Conall Watson, Consultant Epidemiologist at UKHSA, said:

For most people, RSV means a common cold, but for children under 2, RSV can be severe – particularly for babies and those born prematurely. Actions like using tissues to catch coughs and sneezes and handwashing afterwards can reduce the spread to the most vulnerable.

Never smoke near a baby and avoid seeing babies if you are ill.  If you are ill, do not visit babies and avoid smoking around your baby. If you are worried your child has cold symptoms with any unusual breathing or difficulty feeding, please contact your GP or NHS 111. If your child seems seriously ill, trust your judgement and get emergency care.

Norovirus surveillance up until end of week 43

Laboratory reports of norovirus have decreased in recent weeks and were lower in weeks 42 and 43 than the 5-season average pre-COVID-19 (2014/2015 to 2018/2019).

The number of reported enteric virus (EV) outbreaks have decreased during weeks 42 and 43 and overall remains 52% lower than the same period in the 5 seasons pre-COVID-19.

Reports of EV outbreaks in care homes make up 69% of all outbreaks. The overall reduction in reported outbreaks during the 2 week period compared to 5-season average is mostly due to the decrease reported in educational settings during week 43, and coincides with the October half term school holidays.

Learn more about norovirus in our blog.

Dr Lesley Larkin, Head of surveillance, gastrointestinal infections and food safety at UKHSA, said:

Norovirus is passed on by close contact with people with the infection or touching surfaces that the virus has landed on. It is important to wash your hands with soap and warm water after using the toilet and before preparing food. Remember that alcohol gels do not kill norovirus. Disinfecting all surfaces after any episode of illness can help the spread of the virus.

If you do get norovirus, it is easy to become dehydrated, so drink plenty of fluids to prevent this. Those experiencing diarrhoea and vomiting should not return to work or send unwell children to school until at least 48 hours after symptoms have cleared. If anyone is concerned about their symptoms, contact NHS 111 or talk to their GP by phone or visit the NHS norovirus webpage for more information.

Thursday 3 November 2022

Flu surveillance up until end of week 43

Swab test positivity* for influenza has continued to increase and is now at 6.1%, it is highest in 15 to 44-year-olds at 13.4%, followed by 5 to 14-year-olds at 10.4%.

Hospitalisation rates for flu are highest in those aged 85 and over at 2.37 followed by those aged 75 to 84 at 1.63.

Vaccine uptake for flu compared to the previous 2021 to 2022 season is comparable for 65-year-olds and over, currently 64.3%. For those under 65 years in clinical risk groups, 29.9% and for pregnant women 20.7%, but lower in 2 and 3 years old, 20.3% and 21.8%.

Dr Conall Watson, Consultant Epidemiologist for the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

We’re now seeing flu spreading in all age groups over recent weeks. Children aged 2 to 3 may have little natural immunity to flu and can become severely ill. The recent flu season in Australia saw a high number of children hospitalised and there have already been intensive care admissions of young children in the UK. That is why we are urging parents to get their children vaccinated as soon as possible.

It is also important that schoolchildren get vaccinated as it not only protects them but also reduces the spread of flu. Again, parents should ensure they fill in the school consent form so their child is able to get the nasal spray through their school programme.

*among people with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories, reported through the Respiratory Datamart surveillance system.

COVID-19 surveillance up until end of week 43

Surveillance indicators suggest that, at a national level, COVID-19 activity has decreased in most indicators in week 43 of 2022.

The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) decreased in England in week 43 to 182 compared to 280 in the previous week.

Positivity for pillar one laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases for week 43 was 9.0 per 100,000 population, a decrease from 11.7 in the previous week.

The COVID-19 hospital admission rate for week 43 was 7.78 per 100,000 population, a decrease from 9.82 in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 are highest in the North East, with a rate of 11.49 per 100,000 population.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Director of Public Health Programmes at UKHSA, said:

The continued success of the vaccination programme means that COVID-19 cases and hospitalisation rates are still falling across the UK. This is excellent news, but we need to make sure that we remain protected through the winter. We are urging everyone to come forward and take up all the vaccine doses for which they are eligible as soon as possible.

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) surveillance up until end of week 43                                                                                                                                       

RSV swab positivity* increased to 8.3% in week 43, with the highest positivity in under 5-year-olds at 29.3%.

Emergency department attendances for bronchiolitis (an infection of the small airways most commonly caused by RSV) in the under 1s have also increased, and RSV admissions in the under 5s.

Learn more about RSV in our blog.

Dr Conall Watson, Consultant Epidemiologist for UKHSA, said:

Hospital attendances and admissions for RSV and bronchiolitis continue to rise in young children, in line with what we typically see at this time of year. For children under 2, RSV can be severe – particularly for babies and those born prematurely.

With RSV rising, actions like using tissues and handwashing can reduce spread to the most vulnerable. If you are ill, do not visit babies. If you are worried your infant has cold symptoms with any unusual breathing or difficulty feeding, please contact 111 or your GP. If your child seems seriously unwell, trust your judgement and get emergency care.

*among people with symptoms tested at sentinel ‘spotter’ laboratories, reported through the Respiratory Datamart surveillance system.

Norovirus surveillance up until end of week 42

Laboratory reports of norovirus have started to increase in recent weeks and were comparable in weeks 41 and 42 to the 5-season average pre-COVID-19 (2014/2015 to 2018/2019).

The number of reported enteric virus (EV) outbreaks have been stable during weeks 41 and 42 but overall remains 32% lower than the same period in the 5 seasons pre-COVID-19.

Reports of EV outbreaks in care homes have increased by 50% from week 41 to 42 but have not yet returned to pre-pandemic levels.

Richard Elson, Principal Epidemiologist, UKHSA, said:

We are starting to see a rise in norovirus outbreaks in care homes. Help stop norovirus spreading in this vulnerable group by avoiding visits if you are unwell.

It is important to remember, alcohol gels don’t kill norovirus. The best way to protect yourself and others is to wash your hands with soap and warm water regularly and thoroughly, especially after illness or after using the toilet and before handling food.

If you are unlucky enough to become ill from the virus, drink plenty of fluids and don’t return to work or send sick children to school until at least 48 hours after symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting have stopped. This is particularly important if you work with food or with people who are very young or very old.

Thursday 27 October 2022

Flu surveillance up until end of week 42

Positivity for flu has continued to increase and is now at 5.2%. It is the highest in 5 to 14-year-olds at 12% followed by 15 to 44-year-olds at 9.6%.

Hospitalisation rates for flu are highest in those aged 0 to 4 at 3.19 followed by those aged 85+ at 2.48 per 100,000.

Vaccine uptake for flu compared to the previous 2021 to 2022 season is comparable for 65-year-olds and over, currently 59%. For those under 65 years in clinical risk groups, 25.7% and for pregnant women 17.9%, but lower in 2 and 3 years old, 16% and 17.1%.

Dr Conall Watson, Consultant Epidemiologist for the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

Hospital admission rates for flu have increased in recent weeks and remain highest in those under 5. Already this year a small number of young children have needed intensive care. Please book your pre-schooler in for flu vaccine at your GP surgery as soon as you can.

Flu nasal spray vaccine is also currently being offered to all primary school children and will be available for some secondary school years later this season.

COVID-19 surveillance up until end of week 42

Surveillance indicators suggest that, at a national level, coronavirus (COVID-19) activity has decreased in most indicators in week 42 of 2022.

The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) decreased in England in week 42 to 280 compared to 347 in the previous week.

Positivity for pillar one laboratory confirmed COVID-19 cases for week 42 was 10.2 per 100,000 population, a decrease from 12.8 in the previous week.

The COVID-19 hospital admission rate for week 42 was 10.06 per 100,000 population, a decrease from 11.61 in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 are highest in the South West, with a rate of 14.08 per 100,000 population.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Director of Public Health Programmes at UKHSA, said:

The ongoing drop in COVID-19 cases and hospitalisation rates is a testament to the continued success of the autumn booster programme and it is hugely encouraging that 10 million people in England have already taken up their booster. However, it is vital that we do not become complacent as cases could rise quickly again throughout the winter and we need to be ready. Please come forward for your booster as soon as it is offered to you.

Vaccines remain our best protection against disease but it’s also important that we all remain cautious as we head into winter. If you have symptoms of a respiratory infection, it is important to avoid contact with elderly people or those who have underlying health conditions. This will not only help to keep you and your loved ones safe, but will go a long way to relieving the pressure on the NHS through the winter.

RSV and other respiratory virus surveillance up until end of week 42

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) swab positivity increased to 6.5% in week 42, with the highest positivity in children under 5, at 23.4%.

Learn more about RSV in our blog.

Dr Conall Watson, Consultant Epidemiologist for UKHSA, said:

RSV levels are rising in young children as we head into winter. For children under 2 RSV can be severe – particularly for babies and those born prematurely, with a heart condition or chronic lung disease.

If you are ill, avoid visiting babies. Smoking around babies also increases their risk of severe RSV infection. If you are worried your infant has cold symptoms causing any unusual breathing or difficulty feeding, please seek advice from 111 or your GP. If your child seems seriously unwell, trust your judgement and get emergency care.

Norovirus surveillance up until end of week 41

Laboratory reports of norovirus have increased in recent weeks and were higher during weeks 40 and 41 than the 5-season average pre-COVID (year 2014 to 2015 to year 2018 to 2019).

The number of reported enteric virus (EV) outbreaks have been stable during weeks 40 and 41, but overall remains 33% lower than the same period in the 5 seasons pre-COVID.

Throughout the 2022 to 2023 season to date, EV outbreaks have returned to comparable levels for the point in this season in educational settings compared to the same period in the 5 seasons pre-COVID and reports of outbreaks in hospital and care home settings have remained notably low.

Rotavirus laboratory reports are currently 22% higher than the 5-season average of the same 2-week period pre-COVID.

Dr Richard Elson, Principal Epidemiologist, UKHSA, said:

Norovirus activity is starting to increase as we head into winter. Alcohol gels don’t kill norovirus, so the best way to protect yourself and others is to wash your hands with soap and warm water regularly and thoroughly, especially after an episode of illness or after using the toilet and before handling food.

If you are unlucky enough to be struck down by the virus, drink plenty of fluids and don’t return to work or send sick children to school or nursery until at least 48 hours after symptoms including diarrhoea and vomiting have stopped. Please don’t visit loved ones in hospital or care homes, to help reduce the risk of outbreaks among those who are more vulnerable.

Thursday 20 October 2022

The main points from this week’s national influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report are:

Surveillance indicators suggest that, at a national level, COVID-19 activity has decreased in most indicators in week 41 of 2022.

The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) decreased in England in week 41 to 347 compared to 370 in the previous week.

Positivity for pillar one laboratory confirmed COVID-19 cases for week 41 was 11.0 per 100,000 population, a decrease from 13.9 in the previous week.

The COVID-19 hospital admission rate for week 41 was 11.75 per 100,000 population, a decrease from 12.53 in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 are highest in the South West, with a rate of 15.96 per 100,000 population.

Cases of flu have climbed quickly in the past week, indicating that the season has begun earlier than normal. We are seeing hospitalisations and ICU admissions rising the fastest in children under 5.

Vaccination for flu is currently behind last season for pre-schoolers (12.1% in all 2 year olds and 12.8% in all 3 year olds) and pregnant women (12.4%) and under 65 in a clinical risk group (18.2%). This is compared to 17.4% in 2 year olds, 18.6% in 3 year olds, 15.7% in pregnant women and 20.7% in under 65s and in clinical risk groups last year.

Around 33 million people are eligible for the flu vaccine and 26 million people are eligible for the COVID-19 booster. Getting vaccinated is not just about protecting yourself but others around you, especially the more vulnerable groups.

Information on eligibility for the flu vaccine and COVID-19 booster is available.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Director of Public Health Programmes at the UK Health Security Agency, said:

Our latest data shows early signs of the anticipated threat we expected to face from flu this season. We’re urging parents in particular not to be caught out as rates of hospitalisations and ICU admissions are currently rising fastest in children under 5. This will be a concern for many parents and carers of young children, and we urge them to take up the offer of vaccination for eligible children as soon as possible.

It’s possible that we’re already seeing the benefits from so many people taking up their COVID-19 autumn booster in England. Encouragingly, the latest data shows a small decrease in COVID-19 cases and hospitalisation rates over the past week. There’s no room for complacency though, as cases could rise again at any point and we need to be armed in readiness through vaccination of everyone who’s eligible. Don’t delay; please come forward for both COVID-19 and flu vaccinations as soon as you’re offered them.

Vaccines remain our best protection against severe disease and hospitalisation this winter but it’s also vital that we all remain cautious as we head into winter when people tend to mix more indoors and the risk increases. If you are feeling unwell, avoid contact with elderly people or those with underlying health conditions. ## Previous

Thursday 13 October 2022

The main points from this week’s national influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report are:

Surveillance indicators suggest that, at a national level, COVID-19 activity has increased in most indicators in week 40 of 2022.

The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) increased in England in week 40 to 370 compared to 270 in the previous week.

Positivity for pillar one laboratory confirmed cases for week 40 was 12.1 per 100,000 population, an increase from 11.7 in the previous week.

The hospital admission rate for week 40 was 12.60 per 100,000 population, an increase from 10.65 in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 are highest in the North East, with a rate of 15.84 per 100,000 population.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Director of Public Health Programmes at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

We’re seeing sustained increases in COVID-19 cases and hospitalisation rates so we continue to urge those eligible for vaccinations to come forward, whether that’s a first dose or a booster. Vaccines are the best protection against severe disease and hospitalisation this winter and it’s never too late to take up your first dose. It’s fantastic to see that around 30% of those eligible have already come forward for their booster in such a short period of time.

There are early indications that deaths with COVID-19 have also started to rise. While this is concerning, it is too early to say whether these are deaths due to COVID-19 and it is reassuring that at this stage there is no overall excess mortality.

If you are unwell or have symptoms of a respiratory infection, it is particularly important to avoid contact with elderly people or those who are more likely to have severe disease because of their ongoing health conditions.

Wearing a face covering will also help stop respiratory infections spreading.

Thursday 6 October 2022

The main points from this week’s national influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report are:

Surveillance indicators suggest that, at a national level, COVID-19 activity has increased in most indicators in week 39 of 2022.

The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) increased in England in week 39 to 273 compared to 170 in the previous week; a 61% increase in suspected outbreaks.

Positivity for pillar one laboratory confirmed cases for week 39 was 9.2 per 100,000 population, a 10% increase compared to the previous week.

The hospital admission rate for week 39 was 10.83 per 100,000 population, a 45% increase compared to the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 are highest in the South West, with a rate of 16.67 per 100,000 population. This represents a 250% increase in the South West since mid-September, when there was a rate of 4.79 per 100,000 population.

Dr Susan Hopkins, Chief Medical Advisor at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

This week’s data shows concerning further increases in COVID-19 cases and hospitalisation rates, which are now at their highest level in months. Outbreaks in hospitals and care homes are also on the rise.

Make sure you have any COVID-19 vaccinations you are eligible for and avoid contact with others if you feel unwell or have symptoms of a respiratory infection.

If you are unwell, it is particularly important to avoid contact with elderly people or those who are more likely to have severe disease because of their ongoing health conditions. 

If you have symptoms of a respiratory infection, wearing a face covering will also help stop infections spreading.

Thursday 29 September 2022

The main points from this week’s national influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report are:

Surveillance indicators suggest that, at a national level, COVID-19 activity has increased in most indicators in week 38 of 2022.

The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) increased in England in week 38 to 170 compared to 133 in the previous week.

Positivity for pillar one laboratory confirmed cases for week 38 was 6.9 per 100,000 population, an increase from 5.5 in the previous week. There was a large increase in those aged over 80.

The hospital admission rate for week 38 was 7.62 per 100,000 population, an increase from 4.96 in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 are highest in the North East, with a rate of 10.82 per 100,000 population

Dr Mary Ramsay, Director of Public Health Programmes at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

It is clear now that we are seeing an increase which could signal the start of the anticipated winter wave of COVID-19 – so the time to boost your protection with a vaccine if you’re eligible is now. Cases have started to climb and hospitalisations are increasing in the oldest age groups.

In the coming weeks, we expect a double threat of low immunity and widely circulating flu and COVID-19, creating an unpredictable winter and additional pressure on health services. While COVID-19 and flu can be mild infections for many, we must not forget that they can cause severe illness or even death for those most vulnerable in our communities.

If you are unwell this winter, please try to stay at home and avoid contact with vulnerable people – this will help stop infections spreading.

Thursday 22 September 2022

The main points from this week’s national influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report are:

Surveillance indicators suggest that, at a national level, COVID-19 activity has remained stable in most indicators in week 37 of 2022.

The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) increased in England in week 37 to 133 compared to 131 in the previous week.

Positivity for pillar one laboratory confirmed cases for week 37 was 4.6 per 100,000 population, a slight decrease from 5.1 in the previous week. There were small increases in those aged over 80.

The hospital admission rate for week 37 was 4.91 per 100,000 population, a slight decrease from 5.94 in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 are highest in the North East, with a rate of 7.19 per 100,000 population.

Our latest data, available through the COVID-19 dashboard, is updated weekly on Thursdays at around 4pm and is the focus of the below quote.

Dr Susan Hopkins, Chief Medical Advisor at the UK Health Security Agency, said:

While COVID-19 rates are still low, the latest data for the last 7 days indicate a rise in hospitalisations and a rise in positive tests reported from the community. 

For those eligible, the time to get your autumn booster is now. Getting a booster will give your immune system time to build up your protection against being severely ill from COVID-19 as we move into winter.

All of the available boosters provide good protection against severe illness from COVID-19 and getting your booster sooner rather than later is crucial.

As it gets colder and we head towards winter, we will start to see respiratory infections pick up – please try to stay at home if you are unwell and avoid contact with vulnerable people.

Thursday 15 September 2022

The latest national influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report has been published.

Thursday 8 September 2022

The main points from this week’s national influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report are:

Surveillance indicators suggest that, at a national level, COVID-19 activity has decreased in most indicators in week 35 of 2022.

The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) increased in England in week 35 to 116 compared to 111 in the previous week.

Positivity for pillar one laboratory confirmed cases for week 35 was 3.7 per 100,000 population, a decrease from 4.1 in the previous week.

The hospital admission rate for week 35 was 5.33 per 100,000 population, a decrease from 6.17 in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 are highest in the North East, with a rate of 6.71 per 100,000 population.

Dr Jamie Lopez Bernal, consultant epidemiologist for immunisation and countermeasures at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

The latest COVID-19 indicators provide more positive news, as COVID-19 case rates and hospitalisations continue to decline.

However, with respiratory viruses increasing in circulation in the winter months we can expect to see growing cases of COVID-19 in the coming weeks. We urge all who are contacted to come forward and accept their booster when called for their jab. The NHS booking system is now open for immunosuppressed people and those aged over 75.

We also encourage everyone to keep helping to reduce the spread of the virus – meeting in well-ventilated spaces, washing hands regularly and staying away from others where possible if you have symptoms of a respiratory illness.

Thursday 1 September 2022

The main points from this week’s national influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report are:

Surveillance indicators suggest that, at a national level, COVID-19 activity has decreased in most indicators in week 34 of 2022.

The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) decreased in England in week 34 to 111 compared to 124 in the previous week.

Positivity for pillar one laboratory confirmed cases for week 34 was 3.8 per 100,000 population, a decrease from 5.1 in the previous week.

The hospital admission rate for week 34 was 5.88 per 100,000 population, a decrease from 7.17 in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 are highest in the West Midlands, with a rate of 8.23 per 100,000 population.

The latest evidence shows that vaccine effectiveness against hospitalisation is similar for the BA.4/5 variants as it is for BA.2.

​In somebody who received their second dose around 6 months previously, a booster dose increases protection against hospitalisation by 50 to 60%. This is the most comprehensive analysis of vaccine effectiveness against hospitalisation for BA.4/5 undertaken to date.

Dr Jamie Lopez Bernal, consultant epidemiologist for immunisation and countermeasures at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

The latest COVID-19 indicators provide more positive news, with continued low levels of COVID-19 case rates and hospitalisations and a sustained downward trend.

The latest evidence shows vaccine effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines against hospitalisation with the BA.4 and BA.5 variant is similar to the protection given for BA.2. The latest analysis shows getting a booster dose 6 or more months after your first 2 jabs increases protection against hospitalisation by around 60%.

The autumn booster will provide the best protection against COVID-19 this winter and we urge all those eligible – people aged 50 and over and those with underlying health conditions – to come forward when called for their jab.

We also encourage everyone to keep up the actions that are helping to reduce the spread of the virus – meeting in well-ventilated spaces, washing hands regularly and staying away from others where possible if you have symptoms of a respiratory illness.

Thursday 25 August 2022

The main points from this week’s national influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report are:

Surveillance indicators suggest that, at a national level, COVID-19 activity has decreased in most indicators in week 33 of 2022.

The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) decreased in England in week 33 to 124 compared to 172 in the previous week.

Positivity for pillar one laboratory confirmed cases for week 33 was 4.7 per 100,000 population, a decrease from 5.9 in the previous week.

The hospital admission rate for week 33 was 7.35 per 100,000 population, a decrease from 8.90 in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 remain highest in the North East, with a rate of 9.67 per 100,000 population.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Director of Clinical Programmes at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

COVID-19 case rates and hospitalisations are at low levels and continue on a downward trend.

The effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines significantly reduces the risk of being seriously ill with the virus. When the autumn booster is rolled out in a few weeks’ time we urge all those eligible – people aged 50 and over and those with underlying health conditions – to come forward for their jab.

We also encourage everyone to keep up the actions that are helping to reduce the spread of the virus – meeting in well-ventilated spaces, washing hands regularly and staying away from others where possible if you have symptoms of a respiratory illness.

Thursday 18 August 2022

The main points from this week’s national influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report are:

Surveillance indicators suggest that, at a national level, COVID-19 activity has decreased in most indicators in week 32 of 2022.

The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) decreased in England in week 32 to 172 compared to 239 in the previous week.

Positivity for pillar one laboratory confirmed cases for week 32 was 5.7 per 100,000 population, a decrease from 6.8 in the previous week.

The hospital admission rate for week 32 was 9.8 per 100,000 population, a decrease from 10.12 in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 are highest in the North East, with a rate of 13.42 per 100,000 population.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Director of Clinical Programmes at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

It’s very encouraging that COVID-19 case rates and hospitalisation are now at low levels. We expect them to remain low over the coming weeks before rising again as we head into the autumn and winter.

COVID-19 vaccines continue to provide the best defence against serious illness and hospitalisation with COVID-19. Plans are well under way for the roll-out of the autumn booster programme and we urge all those eligible – people aged 50 and over and those with underlying health conditions – to come forward when called to have the maximum protection against COVID-19.

We also encourage everyone to keep up the actions that are helping to reduce the spread of the virus – meeting in well-ventilated spaces, washing hands regularly and staying away from others where possible if you have symptoms of a respiratory illness.

Thursday 11 August 2022

The main points from this week’s national influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report are:

Surveillance indicators suggest that, at a national level, COVID-19 activity has decreased in most indicators in week 31 of 2022.

The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) decreased in England to 239 in week 31, compared to 271 in the previous week.

Positivity for pillar one laboratory confirmed cases for week 31 was 5.9 per 100,000 population, a decrease from 6.8 in the previous week.

The hospital admission rate for week 31 was 10.10 per 100,000 population, a decrease from 12.09 in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 remain highest in the West Midlands, with a rate of 15.13 per 100,000 population.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Director of Clinical Programmes at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

COVID-19 case rates, hospitalisations and ICU admissions have continued to decline this week, in order to drive down the virus further we urge eligible people to keep coming forward for their vaccine.

Vaccination remains the best form of defence against hospitalisation and serious illness.

Meeting up outdoors or in well ventilated spaces where possible, observing good hand hygiene and covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing will continue to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Don’t forget that if you have any symptoms of a respiratory infection, and a high temperature or feel unwell, try to stay at home or away from others – especially elderly or vulnerable people.

Thursday 4 August 2022

The main points from this week’s national influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report are:

Surveillance indicators suggest that, at a national level, COVID-19 activity has decreased in several indicators in week 30 of 2022.

The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) decreased in England to 271 in week 30, compared to 416 in the previous week.

Positivity for pillar one laboratory confirmed cases for week 30 was 6.0 per 100,000 population, a decrease from 9.3 in the previous week.

The hospital admission rate for week 30 was 12.13 per 100,000 population, a decrease from 15.61 in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 highest in the West Midlands, with a rate of 17.49 per 100,000 population.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Director of Clinical Programmes at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

While COVID-19 case rates, hospitalisations and ICU admissions continue to show positive signs of decline we urge eligible people to keep coming forward for their vaccine.

Vaccination remains the best form of defence against hospitalisation and serious illness with the virus.

It’s also important to keep remembering the simple steps that will help to reduce the spread of COVID-19 – meet up outdoors or in well ventilated spaces where possible, observe good hand hygiene and cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.

Don’t forget that if you have any symptoms of a respiratory infection, and a high temperature or feel unwell, try to stay at home or away from others – especially elderly or vulnerable people.

Thursday 28 July 2022

The main points from this week’s national influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report are:

Surveillance indicators suggest that, at a national level, COVID-19 activity has decreased in several indicators in week 29 of 2022.

The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) decreased in England to 416 in week 29, compared to 528 in the previous week.

Positivity for pillar one laboratory confirmed cases for week 29 was 8.3 per 100,000 population, a slight decrease from 10.3 in the previous week.

The hospital admission rate for week 29 was 16.29 per 100,000 population, a slight decrease from 18.22 in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 remain highest in the North East, with a rate of 20.19 per 100,000 population.

Dr Gayatri Amirthalingam, Deputy Director of Public Health Programmes at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

We are now seeing decreases in COVID-19 case rates and hospitalisations. While this is encouraging, COVID-19 has not gone away and we really want to see further declines in the coming weeks and months. People aged 75 and over remain at particular risk of severe disease if they are not up to date with their vaccinations.

We urge anyone who is not up to date with their jabs to come forward to give themselves the best possible protection.

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, try to meet up outdoors or in well ventilated spaces and remember to keep up good hand hygiene and cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. It is also sensible to wear a face covering if you are in crowded, enclosed spaces.

If you have any symptoms of a respiratory infection, and a high temperature or feel unwell, try to stay at home or away from others – especially elderly or vulnerable people.

Thursday 21 July 2022

The main points from this week’s national influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report are:

Surveillance indicators suggest that, at a national level, COVID-19 activity has increased slightly in several indicators in week 28 of 2022.

The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) decreased in England to 528 in week 28, compared to 537 in the previous week.

Positivity for pillar one laboratory confirmed cases for week 28 was 9.5 per 100,000 population, a slight decrease from 11.2 in the previous week.

The hospital admission rate for week 28 was 18.34 per 100,000 population, a slight increase from 18.04 in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 remain highest in the West Midlands, with a rate of 25.33 per 100,000 population.

Dr Gayatri Amirthalingam, Deputy Director of Public Health Programmes at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

The increase in COVID-19 case rates and hospitalisations continues to show signs of slowing but there is no room to be complacent and people aged 75 and over remain at particular risk of severe disease if they are not up to date with their vaccinations.

We urge all those who are eligible for a booster to take up the offer as soon as possible. Anyone who has not yet had their first or second dose, should also get up to date with their jabs to give themselves the best possible protection.

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, try to meet up outdoors or in well ventilated spaces and remember to keep up good hand hygiene and cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. It is also sensible to wear a face covering if you are in crowded, enclosed spaces.

If you have any symptoms of a respiratory infection, and a high temperature or feel unwell, try to stay at home or away from others – especially elderly or vulnerable people.

Thursday 14 July 2022

The main points from this week’s national influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report are:

Surveillance indicators suggest that, at a national level, COVID-19 activity has increased in several indicators in week 27 of 2022.

The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) increased in England to 537 in week 27, compared to 504 in the previous week.

Positivity for pillar one laboratory confirmed cases for week 27 was 9.4 per 100,000 population, a slight increase from 9.3 in the previous week.

The hospital admission rate for week 27 was 17.90 per 100,000 population, an increase from 15.74 in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 remain highest in the West Midlands, with a rate of 24.45 per 100,000 population.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Director of Clinical Programmes at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

COVID-19 case rates and hospitalisations continue to rise, although the rate of increase appears to be slowing. Those aged 75 and over who have not taken up the offer of the spring booster put themselves at risk of severe disease.

We urge all those who are eligible for the spring booster to take up the offer as soon as possible. Anyone who has not yet had their first or second dose, should also get up to date with their jabs to give themselves the best possible protection.

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, try to meet up outdoors or in well ventilated spaces and remember to keep up good hand hygiene and cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. It is also sensible to wear a face covering if you are in crowded, enclosed spaces. If you have any symptoms of a respiratory infection, and a high temperature or feel unwell, try to stay at home or away from others – especially elderly or vulnerable people.

Thursday 7 July 2022

The main points from this week’s national influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report are:

Surveillance indicators suggest that, at a national level, COVID-19 activity has increased in several indicators in week 26 of 2022.

The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) increased in England to 504 in week 26, compared to 382 in the previous week.

Positivity for pillar one laboratory confirmed cases for week 26 was 7.4 per 100,000 population, a slight increase from 7.3 in the previous week.

The hospital admission rate for week 26 was 14.59 per 100,000 population, an increase from 11.12 in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 remain highest in the West Midlands, with a rate of 16.97 per 100,000 population.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Director of Clinical Programmes at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

We continue to see COVID-19 case rates and hospitalisations rise in all age groups, with the largest increases in hospitalisations and ICU admissions in those aged 75 and older.

There is likely to be a substantial amount of waning immunity in older people who have not taken up the booster on schedule, so we can expect these rises to continue over the coming weeks and throughout July.

It’s reassuring that 79.8 per cent of people aged 75 and over in June have had a vaccine in the past 6 months but we urge the remaining 16 per cent to get their spring booster as soon as possible to help protect against serious illness – preliminary analysis shows that the vaccine is continuing to protect against severe illness and remains the best defence against severe disease and hospitalisation. This includes anyone who had their last vaccine more than 6 months ago, as well as those living in care homes or who are clinically vulnerable.

Vaccination remains the best defence against severe disease and we urge anyone who’s eligible for the spring booster to take it up. Remember that COVID-19 has not gone away and we should all keep up good hand and respiratory hygiene.

It is also sensible to wear a face covering in crowded, enclosed spaces. If you have any symptoms of a respiratory infection, and a high temperature or feel unwell, try to stay at home or away from others – especially elderly or vulnerable people.

Thursday 30 June 2022

The main points from this week’s national influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report are:

Surveillance indicators suggest that, at a national level, COVID-19 activity has increased in several indicators in week 25 of 2022.

The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) increased in England to 382 in week 25, compared to 261 in the previous week.

Positivity for pillar one laboratory confirmed cases for week 25 was 6.0 per 100,000 population, a slight increase from 5.3 in the previous week.

The hospital admission rate for week 25 was 11.11 per 100,000 population, an increase from 7.98 in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 remain highest in the North West, with a rate of 15.09 per 100,000 population.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Director of Clinical Programmes at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

We continue to see an increase in COVID-19 data, with a rise in case rates and hospitalisations in those aged 65 years and over, and outbreaks in care homes.

We can also now see a rise in ICU admissions in older age groups.

It’s reassuring that 83.5 per cent of people aged 75 and over have had a vaccine in the past 6 months but we urge the remaining 16.5% per cent, as well as those living in care homes or who are clinically vulnerable, to get their spring booster for protection against serious illness. Vaccination remains the best defence against severe disease and hospitalisation.

COVID-19 has not gone away and we should all remember to keep up good hand and respiratory hygiene. It is also sensible to wear a face covering in crowded, enclosed spaces. If you have any symptoms of a respiratory infection, and a high temperature or feel unwell, try to stay at home or away from others – especially elderly or vulnerable people.

Thursday 23 June 2022

The main points from this week’s national influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report are:

Surveillance indicators suggest that, at a national level, COVID-19 activity has increased in several indicators in week 24 of 2022.

The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) increased in England to 261 in week 24, compared to 170 in the previous week.

Positivity for pillar one laboratory confirmed cases for week 24 was 4.2 per 100,000 population, a slight increase from 3.9 in the previous week.

The hospital admission rate for week 24 was 8.20 per 100,000 population, an increase from 6.11 in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 remain highest in the North East, with a rate of 12.45 per 100,000 population.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Director of Clinical Programmes at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

We continue to see increases in COVID-19 outbreaks within care homes and hospitalisations among those aged 75 years and over.

Our data also shows that 17.5 per cent of people aged 75 years and over have not had a vaccine within the past 6 months, putting them more at risk of severe disease.

“We urge everyone in this age group, as well as those living in a care home or who are clinically vulnerable, to ensure they get their spring booster for protection against serious illness.

COVID-19 has not gone away and we should all remember to keep up good hand and respiratory hygiene. It is also sensible to wear a face covering in crowded, enclosed spaces. If you have any symptoms of a respiratory infection, and a high temperature or feel unwell, try to stay at home or away from others – especially elderly or vulnerable people.

Thursday 16 June 2022

The main points from this week’s national influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report are:

Surveillance indicators suggest that, at a national level, COVID-19 activity (including case rates) has increased in week 23 of 2022.

The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) increased in England to 170 in week 23, compared to 78 in the previous week.

Positivity for pillar one laboratory confirmed cases for week 23 was 3.3 per 100,000 population, a slight increase from 3.0 in the previous week.

The hospital admission rate for week 23 was 6.10 per 100,000 population, an increase from 4.65 in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 remain highest in the North East, with a rate of 10.70 per 100,000 population.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Director of Clinical Programmes at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

After a period of low case rates, we are now seeing increases in outbreaks within care homes and in hospitalisations among those aged 80 years and over.

It is encouraging that we are not seeing an increase in intensive care unit (ICU) admissions but we are monitoring data closely and assessing the possible impact of subvariants BA.4 and BA.5.

As we enter summer, it’s still important to remember that COVID-19 has not gone away and to get vaccinated to reduce the risk of becoming seriously ill with the virus. If you’re not yet up to date with your jabs please come forward now – it’s not too late to get protected.

Remember to observe good hand and respiratory hygiene. It is also sensible to wear a face covering in crowded, enclosed spaces. If you have any symptoms of a respiratory infection, and a high temperature or feel unwell, try to stay at home or away from others – especially elderly or vulnerable people.

Thursday 9 June 2022

The main points from this week’s national influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report are:

Surveillance indicators suggest that at a national level, COVID-19 activity (including case rates) have decreased in week 22 of 2022.

The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) increased slightly in England to 78 in week 22, compared to 69 in the previous week.

Positivity for pillar one laboratory confirmed cases for week 22 was 2.50 per 100,000 population, a slight increase from 2.40 in the previous week.

The hospital admission rate for week 22 was 4.69 per 100,000 population, a slight increase from 4.50 in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 were highest in the North East, with a rate of 8.30 per 100,000 population.

The highest hospital admission rates continue to be those aged 85 and over.

Dr Jamie Lopez Bernal, consultant epidemiologist for immunisation and countermeasures at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

COVID-19 case rates continue to decline, but it remains important to get vaccinated to reduce the risk of serious illness. If you’ve yet to take up the offer of a vaccine or have missed your latest jab please come forward now.

Recent data has shown a small rise in positivity rates and in hospitalisations with COVID-19. These small increases should be interpreted with caution as data may be subject to delays due to the Jubilee bank holiday.

Remember to observe good hand and respiratory hygiene. If you have any symptoms of a respiratory infection, and a high temperature or feel unwell, try to stay at home or away from others – especially elderly or vulnerable people.

Monday 6 June 2022

The main points from this week’s national influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report are:

Surveillance indicators suggest that at a national level, COVID-19 activity (including case rates and hospital admissions) has decreased in week 21 of 2022.

The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) decreased in England to 69 in week 21, compared to 129 in the previous week.

The hospital admission rate for week 21 was 4.69 per 100,000 population, down from 5.62 in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 were highest in the North East, with a rate of 7.56 per 100,000 population.

The highest hospital admission rates continue to be those aged 85 and over.

Dr Gayatri Amirthalingam, Deputy Director of Public Health Programmes at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

Case rates and hospitalisations have continued to decline, but it remains as important as ever to get vaccinated and protect yourself from severe disease. If you’ve yet to take up the offer of a vaccine or have missed your latest jab, please come forward now.

If you are in a crowded, enclosed space it is still sensible to wear a face covering – and remember to keep washing your hands regularly.

If you have any symptoms of a respiratory infection, and a high temperature or feel unwell, try to stay at home or away from others – especially elderly or vulnerable people.

Thursday 26 May 2022

The main points from this week’s national influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report are:

Surveillance indicators suggest that at a national level, COVID-19 activity (including case rates and hospital admissions) has decreased in week 20 of 2022.

The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) increased slightly in England to 129 in week 20, compared to 127 in the previous week.

The hospital admission rate for week 20 was 5.68 per 100,000 population, down from 6.89 in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 were highest in the North East, with a rate of 11.69 per 100,000 population.

The highest hospital admission rates continue to be those aged 85 and over.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Director of Clinical Programmes at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

The continuing decline in case rates and hospitalisations is good news, but it’s still essential to get vaccinated. If you’ve yet to take up the offer of a vaccine or have missed your latest jab please come forward now.

If you are in a crowded, enclosed space it is still sensible to wear a face covering, and remember to keep washing your hands regularly. If you have any symptoms of a respiratory infection, and a high temperature or feel unwell, try to stay at home or away from others – especially elderly or vulnerable people.

Thursday 19 May 2022

The main points from this week’s national influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report are:

Surveillance indicators suggest that at a national level, COVID-19 activity (including case rates and hospital admissions) has decreased in week 19 of 2022.

The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) in England was 127 in week 19, compared to 198 in the previous week.

The hospital admission rate for week 19 was 6.81 per 100,000 population, down from 8.35 in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 were highest in the North East, with a rate of 10.04 per 100,000 population.

The highest hospital admission rates continue to be those aged 85 and over.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Director of Clinical Programmes at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

While COVID-19 hospital admissions continue to decline it is important that we do not become complacent. If you’ve yet to take up the offer of vaccine or have missed your latest jab please come forward now; vaccines continue to offer the best protection against severe illness.

If you are in a crowded enclosed space it is sensible to wear a face covering, and remember to keep washing your hands regularly. If you have any symptoms of a respiratory infection, and a high temperature or feel unwell, try to stay at home or away from others – especially elderly or vulnerable people.

Thursday 12 May 2022

The main points from this week’s national influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report are:

Surveillance indicators suggest that at a national level, COVID-19 activity (including case rates and hospital admissions) has decreased in week 18 of 2022.

The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) in England was 198 in week 18, compared to 229 in the previous week.

Positivity for pillar one laboratory confirmed cases for week 18 was 3.6 per 100,000 population, down from 4.6 in the previous week.

The hospital admission rate for week 18 was 7.87 per 100,000 population, down from 9.87 in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 were highest in the North East, with a rate of 13.00 per 100,000 population.

The highest hospital admission rates continue to be those aged 85 and over.

Dr Gayatri Amirthalingam, Deputy Director of Public Health Programmes at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

COVID-19 hospital admissions continue to decline week on week. Vaccines continue to offer high levels of protection against severe illness, so if you’ve yet to take up the offer of vaccine or have missed your latest jab please come forward now.

If you are in a crowded enclosed space it is sensible to wear a face covering, and remember to keep washing your hands regularly. If you have any symptoms of a respiratory infection, and a high temperature or feel unwell, try to stay at home or away from others – especially elderly or vulnerable people.

Thursday 5 May 2022

The main points from this week’s national influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report are:

Surveillance indicators suggest that at a national level, COVID-19 activity (including case rates and hospital admissions) has decreased in week 17 of 2022.

The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) in England was 229 in week 17, compared to 440 in the previous week.

Positivity for pillar one laboratory confirmed cases for week 17 was 4.50 per 100,000 population, down from 6.30 in the previous week.

The hospital admission rate for week 17 was 10.04 per 100,000 population, down from 13.03 in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 were highest in the North East, with a rate of 18.44 per 100,000 population.

The highest hospital admission rates continue to be those aged 85 and over.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Director of Clinical Programmes at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

The continued fall of COVID-19 hospital admissions and acute respiratory infections remains encouraging and demonstrates that vaccines are providing strong protection against severe illness.

Make sure you are up to date with your latest jabs, if you are in a crowded enclosed space it is sensible to wear a face covering, and remember to keep washing your hands regularly. If you have any symptoms of a respiratory infection, and a high temperature or feel unwell, try to stay at home or away from others – especially those who are elderly or vulnerable.

Thursday 28 April 2022

The main points from this week’s national influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report are:

Surveillance indicators suggest that at a national level, COVID-19 activity (including case rates and hospital admissions) has declined in week 16 of 2022.

The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) in England was 440 in week 16, compared to 559 in the previous week.

The hospital admission rate for week 16 was 12.35 per 100,000 population, down from 16.70 in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 were highest in the North East, with a rate of 22.01 per 100,000 population.

The highest hospital admission rates continue to be those aged 85 and over.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Director of Clinical Programmes at the UK Health Security Agency, said:

While the number of COVID-19 hospital admissions and acute respiratory infections continue to fall this week, the virus still remains a threat to those who are more vulnerable.

Vaccination provides the greatest protection against severe illness. Please ensure you are up to date with your latest jabs. If you have any symptoms of a respiratory infection, and a high temperature or feel unwell, try to stay at home or away from others – especially those who are elderly or vulnerable.

Thursday 21 April 2022

The main points from this week’s national influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report are:

Surveillance indicators suggest that at a national level, COVID-19 activity (including case rates and hospital admissions) has declined in week 15 of 2022.

The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) in England was 559 in week 15, compared to 788 in the previous week.

The hospital admission rate for week 15 was 16.17 per 100,000 population, down from 19.94 in the previous week.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 were highest in the North East, with a rate of 22.79 per 100,000 population.

The highest hospital admission rates continue to be those aged 85 and over.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Director of Clinical Programmes at the UK Health Security Agency, said:

It is encouraging that COVID-19 hospital admissions and acute respiratory infections continue to fall this week. We should all take action to keep driving this downward trend.

Vaccination provides the greatest protection against severe illness. Please ensure you are up to date with your latest jabs. If you have any symptoms of a respiratory infection, and a high temperature or feel unwell, try to stay at home or away from others – especially those who are elderly or vulnerable.

Thursday 14 April 2022

Given the reduction in COVID-19 testing for the general public, UKHSA surveillance will now focus on high-risk groups such as patients in NHS hospitals, those eligible for COVID-19 antiviral and other treatments and staff working in the NHS and adult social care.  This ‘Pillar One’ data will be the key component of our weekly surveillance reports.

Read more in our latest blog post.

The main points from this week’s national influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report are:

Surveillance indicators suggest that at a national level COVID-19 activity decreased in week 14 of 2022.

The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) in England was 788 in week 14, compared to 952 in the previous week.

The hospital admission rate for week 14 was 18.90 per 100,000 population, in the previous week it was 21.29 per 100,000 population.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 were highest in the North East, with a rate of 25.94 per 100,000 population.

The highest hospital admission rates continue to be those aged 85 and over.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Director of Clinical Programmes at the UK Health Security Agency, said:

From this week our surveillance has shifted focus on targeted testing for high risk groups such as NHS hospital patients, those eligible for antiviral and other COVID-19 treatments and health and social care staff. It is encouraging that hospital admissions appear to have plateaued this week and we will continue to monitor this closely over the coming weeks.

If you have any symptoms of a respiratory infection, such as a high temperature, try to stay at home or away from other people – especially those who are elderly or vulnerable.

Vaccination remains essential for all eligible people, so if you’re not up to date, please make sure you get your latest jab.

Thursday 7 April 2022

The main points from this week’s national influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report are:

Surveillance indicators suggest that at a national level coronavirus (COVID-19) there were increases in some COVID-19 indicators but others decreased, suggesting that the rate of increase in activity seen in recent weeks may be slowing in week 13 of 2022.

Case rates remain highest in those aged 30 to 39, with a weekly rate of 820.0 per 100,000 population.

The lowest case rates remain in those aged 0 to 4, with a weekly rate of 196.4 per 100,000 population.

Weekly case rates per 100,000 population remain highest in the South West, at 804.5.

Case rates per 100,000 remain lowest in the London, with a weekly rate of 483.2.

The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) in England was 952 in week 13, compared to 851 in the previous week.

The hospital admission rate for week 13 was 20.46 per 100,000 population, in the previous week it was 20.08 per 100,000 population.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 were highest in the North East, with a rate of 31.14 per 100,000 population.

The highest hospital admission rates continue to be those aged 85 and over.

Professor Steven Riley, Director General of Data, Analytics and Surveillance at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

High case rates and increasing numbers of hospitalisations remind us that the pandemic is not over and COVID-19 still poses a real risk to vulnerable people. As people mix more, we have also seen increasing levels of common infections such as flu and norovirus.

If you have any symptoms of a respiratory infection such as a high temperature try to stay at home or away from other people – especially those who you know are vulnerable.

While people will be looking forward to catching up with friends and family over the Easter period, it’s important to keep indoor spaces well ventilated, wash your hands regularly and wear a face covering in crowded, enclosed spaces or when visiting people at highest risk of severe illness with COVID19.

It’s important to catch up on any primary or booster jabs, so if you’re not up to date, please make sure you get a jab.

Thursday 31 March 2022

The main points from this week’s national influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report are:

Surveillance indicators suggest that at a national level coronavirus (COVID-19) activity remained stable in most indicators of week 12 of 2022. Case rates increased in some age groups, regions and ethnic groups, remaining stable or decreasing in others.

Case rates remain highest in those aged 30 to 39, with a weekly rate of 1,123.7 per 100,000 population.

The lowest case rates remain in those aged 0 to 4, with a weekly rate of 295.1 per 100,000 population.

Weekly case rates per 100,000 population remain highest in the South West, at 1,190.5.

Case rates per 100,000 remain lowest in the London, with a weekly rate of 650.3.

The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) in England was 851 in week 12, compared to 1173 in the previous week.

The hospital admission rate for week 12 was 19.48 per 100,000 population, in the previous week it was 18.55 per 100,000 population.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 were highest in the South West, with a rate of 28.61 per 100,000 population.

The highest hospital admission rates continue to be those aged 85 and over.

Dame Jenny Harries, Chief Executive of the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

The pandemic is not over and how the virus will develop over time remains uncertain. COVID-19 still poses a real risk to many of us, particularly with case rates and hospitalisations on the rise. That is why it is sensible to wear a mask in enclosed spaces, keep indoor spaces ventilated and stay away from others if you have any symptoms of a respiratory illness, including COVID-19.

Vaccination remains the best way to protect us all from severe disease and hospitalisation due to COVID-19 infection. If you have not yet come forward for your primary or booster I would urge you to do so straight away. The NHS vaccine programme is there to help you and the sooner you are vaccinated the sooner you and your family and friends will be protected.

Thursday 24 March 2022

This week we publish the 100th national influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report.

The main points from this week’s report are:

Surveillance indicators suggest that at a national level COVID-19 activity increased in most indicators of week 11 of 2022.

Case rates remain highest in those aged 30 to 39, with a weekly rate of 1,122.1 per 100,000 population.

The lowest case rates remain in those aged 0 to 4, with a weekly rate of 332.8 per 100,000 population.

Weekly case rates per 100,000 population remain highest in the South West, at 1,269.1.

Case rates per 100,000 remain lowest in the North East, with a weekly rate of 647.9.

The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) in England was 1,173 in week 11, compared to 842 in the previous week.

The hospital admission rate for week 11 was 17.89 per 100,000 population, in the previous week it was 14.07 per 100,000 population.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 were highest in the South West, with a rate of 28.71 per 100,000 population.

The highest hospital admission rates continue to be those aged 85 and over.

Dr Susan Hopkins, Chief Medical Advisor at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

The rate at which we’re currently seeing cases increasing is a reminder to us all that the pandemic is not over. Hospital admissions and cases of COVID-19 have continued to rise and we can expect to see further increases before we start to see a decline.

Vaccination is the key to staying safe from serious illness and it’s vital that everyone gets all of their recommended doses. Wearing a face covering in crowded or enclosed spaces, socialising outside where possible, and always observing good hand hygiene will also help to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Anyone with symptoms or a positive tests should limit their contact with others as much as possible.

Thursday 17 March 2022

The main points from this week’s national influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report are:

Surveillance indicators suggest that at a national level COVID-19 activity increased in most indicators of week 10 of 2022.

Case rates were highest in those aged 30 to 39, with a weekly rate of 878.7 per 100,000 population.

The lowest case rates were in those aged 0 to 4, with a weekly rate of 286.5 per 100,000 population.

Weekly case rates per 100,000 population were highest in the South West at 939.3.

Case rates per 100,000 were lowest in the North East with a weekly rate of 435.9.

The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) in England was 842 in week 10, compared to 514 in the previous week.

The hospital admission rate for week 10 was 13.38 per 100,000 population, in the previous week it was 11.67 per 100,000 population.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 were highest in the South East, with a rate of 19.31 per 100,000 population.

The highest hospital admission rates continue to be those aged 85 and over.

Dr Mike Gent, COVID-19 Public Health Incident Director at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

COVID-19 is circulating at increasing levels and while rates of severe disease and death remain low, hospital admissions have risen. As we learn to live with COVID-19, it’s vital that everyone keeps taking the necessary steps to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Vaccination remains our best defence against the virus, and it’s vital that everyone has had all their recommended doses.  Please help reduce transmission by wearing a face covering in crowded or enclosed spaces, washing hands regularly, keeping rooms well ventilated.  Get tested if you have COVID-19 symptoms, and stay at home if positive.

Thursday 10 March 2022

The main points from this week’s national influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report are:

Surveillance indicators suggest that at a national level COVID-19 activity increased in most indicators of week 9 of 2022.

Case rates were highest in those aged 30 to 39, with a weekly rate of 542.7 per 100,000 population.

The lowest case rates were in those aged 0 to 4, with a weekly rate of 149.5 per 100,000 population.

Weekly case rates per 100,000 population were highest in the South West at 528.7.

Case rates per 100,000 were lowest in the North East with a weekly rate of 265.2.

The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) in England was 514 in week 9, compared to 472 in the previous week.

The hospital admission rate for week 9 was 11.26 per 100,000 population, in the previous week it was 9.84 per 100,000 population.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 were highest in the South West, with a rate of 17.22 per 100,000 population.

The highest hospital admission rates continue to be those aged 85 and over.

Susan Hopkins, Chief Medical Advisor at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

COVID-19 is still circulating at high levels due to the high transmissibility of circulating variants and expected increases in social mixing.

While rates of severe disease and death due to COVID-19 remain low, hospital admissions have risen and we will therefore continue to monitor this data closely.

Vaccination remains our first and best line of defence against illness, and it’s vital that everyone has had their latest dose. We can all help reduce transmission by wearing a face covering in crowded or enclosed spaces, washing hands regularly and keeping rooms well ventilated.

Thursday 3 March 2022

The main points from this week’s national influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report are:

Surveillance indicators suggest that at a national level coronavirus (COVID-19) activity decreased in all indicators of week 8 of 2022. COVID-19 hospitalisations have decreased slightly in all age groups. The overall number of reported acute respiratory incidents decreased in the past week, in England.

Case rates were highest in those aged 30 to 39, with a weekly rate of 419.9 per 100,000 population.

The lowest case rates were in those aged 0 to 4, with a weekly rate of 108.7 per 100,000 population.

Weekly case rates per 100,000 population were highest in the South West, at 394.5.

Case rates per 100,000 were lowest in the North West, with a weekly rate of 211.3.

The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) in England was 472 in week 8, compared to 612 in the previous week.

The hospital admission rate for week 8 was 9.43 per 100,000 population, in the previous week it was 10.61 per 100,000 population.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 were highest in the South East, with a rate of 12.68 per 100,000 population.

The highest hospital admission rates continue to be those aged 85 and over.

Professor Steven Riley, Director General of Data, Analytics and Surveillance at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

Case rates remain highest in 30 to 39 year olds, but it’s encouraging that we continue to see an overall decline in the number of cases and hospitalisations. Please remember that we can help to reduce transmission even further by wearing a face covering in crowded or enclosed spaces, washing hands regularly and keeping rooms well ventilated.

Thursday 24 February 2022

The main points from this week’s national influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report are:

Surveillance indicators suggest that at a national level coronavirus (COVID-19) activity decreased in all indicators of week 7 of 2022. COVID-19 hospitalisations have decreased slightly in all age groups.

The overall number of reported acute respiratory incidents decreased in the past week, in England.

Case rates were highest in those aged 30 to 39, with a weekly rate of 583.2 per 100,000 population.

The lowest case rates were in those aged 0 to 4, with a weekly rate of 155.4 per 100,000 population.

Weekly case rates per 100,000 population were highest in the South West at 557.8.

Case rates per 100,000 were lowest in the North West with a weekly rate of 285.9.

The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) in England was 612 in week 7, compared to 739 in the previous week.

The hospital admission rate for week 7 was 10.11 per 100,000 population, in the previous week it was 11.65 per 100,000 population.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 were highest in the North East, with a rate of 13.78 per 100,000 population.

The highest hospital admission rates continue to be those aged 85 and over.

Professor Steven Riley, Director General of Data, Analytics and Surveillance at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

The overall number of cases and hospitalisations due to COVID-19 continues to decline but we should be aware that the virus is still with us and remains a threat to the health of vulnerable people. 

Even as we move into this new period of living with COVID-19, we still want to keep levels of transmission low. Make sure you get your latest vaccine, regularly wash your hands and ventilate rooms well.  It’s wise to wear a face covering in crowded or enclosed spaces.

Thursday 17 February 2022

The main points from this week’s national influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report are:

Surveillance indicators suggest that at a national level COVID-19 activity decreased in all indicators of week 6 of 2022. COVID-19 hospitalisations have decreased slightly in all age groups.

The overall number of reported acute respiratory incidents decreased in the past week, in England.

Case rates were highest in those aged 30 to 39, with a weekly rate of 720.7 per 100,000 population.

The lowest case rates were in those aged 0 to 4, with a weekly rate of 204.5 per 100,000 population.

Weekly case rates per 100,000 population were highest in the South West at 728.1.

Case rates per 100,000 were lowest in the North West with a weekly rate of 370.4.

The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) in England was 739 in week 6, compared to 814 in the previous week.

The hospital admission rate for week 6 was 11.04 per 100,000 population, in the previous week it was 13.59 per 100,000 population.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 were highest in the North East, with a rate of 15.84 per 100,000 population.

The highest hospital admission rates continue to be those aged 85 and over.

Dr Derren Ready, COVID-19 Public Health Incident Director at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

It is reassuring to see a continued decline in the overall number of cases and hospitalisations due to COVID-19 but we should remain aware that rates are still high, the virus remains with us and people are still being admitted to hospital with COVID-19.  Cases are currently highest in 30 to 39-year olds.

I encourage everyone eligible to get vaccinated or receive a booster vaccine where appropriate. Vaccination is the best way to protect against serious illness and may also reduce the longer-term impact of infection.

Please keep playing your part to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by wearing a face covering in crowded or enclosed spaces and regularly washing your hands.

Thursday 10 February 2022

The main points from this week’s national influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report are:

Surveillance indicators suggest that at a national level COVID-19 activity decreased in most indicators of week 5 of 2022. COVID-19 hospitalisations have decreased slightly in all age groups. The overall number of reported acute respiratory incidents decreased in the past week, in England.

Case rates were highest in those aged 10 to 19, with a weekly rate of 1315.1 per 100,000 population.

The lowest case rates were in those aged 70 to 79, with a weekly rate of 314.7 per 100,000 population.

Weekly case rates per 100,000 population were highest in the South East, at 1013.9.

Case rates per 100,000 were lowest in the North West, with a weekly rate of 560.4.

The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) in England was 814 in week 5, compared to 995 in the previous week.

The hospital admission rate for week 5 was 13.22 per 100,000 population, in the previous week it was 16.40 per 100,000 population.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 were highest in the North East, with a rate of 18.92 per 100,000 population.

The highest hospital admission rates continue to be those aged 85 and over.

Dr Colin Brown, COVID-19 Public Health Incident Director at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

We continue to see promising signs across the board, with infections and hospitalisations declining. However, vaccines remain an essential defence against serious illness and so we should continue to take up the offer of our vaccine and booster jabs right away.

Please remember to test regularly with LFDs before meeting anyone who is vulnerable and to take a PCR test if you have symptoms. We must all continue to keep playing our part to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Thursday 3 February 2022

The main points from this week’s national influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report are:

Surveillance indicators suggest that at a national level, COVID-19 activity decreased in most indicators of week 4 of 2022. 

COVID-19 hospitalisations decreased in most age groups, though have increase slightly in those aged 0 to 4 and 5 to 14.

The overall number of reported acute respiratory incidents decreased in the past week, in England.

Case rates were highest in those aged 5 to 9, with a weekly rate of 1,925.5 per 100,000 population.

The lowest case rates were in those aged 70 to 79, with a weekly rate of 301.3 per 100,000 population.

Weekly case rates per 100,000 population were highest in the South East, at 1,199.8.

Case rates per 100,000 were lowest in the North West, with a weekly rate of 745.5.

The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) in England was 995 in week 4, compared to 1,351 in the previous week.

The hospital admission rate for week 4 was 15.41 per 100,000 population, in the previous week it was 16.67 per 100,000 population.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 were highest in the North East, with a rate of 25.15 per 100,000 population.

The highest hospital admission rates continue to be those aged 85 and above.

Professor Steven Riley, Director General of Data, Analytics and Surveillance at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

This week we have incorporated data on reinfections to improve our understanding of how the virus and its impact has changed. While the pandemic is not over, it is promising that we are no longer seeing rapid rises in incidents of infection and hospitalisation.

We urge everyone to get their vaccine and booster jab as soon as they are eligible, to test regularly with LFDs before meeting anyone who is vulnerable and to take a PCR test if they have symptoms.  Please keep playing your part to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Thursday 27 January 2022

The main points from this week’s national influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report are:

Surveillance indicators suggest that at a national level COVID-19 activity remained stable in most indicators of week 3 of 2022. 

COVID-19 hospitalisations decreased in most age groups, though have increase slightly in those aged 0 to 4, 5 to 14 and those aged 15 to 24.

The overall number of reported acute respiratory incidents decreased in the past week in England.

Case rates were highest in those aged 5 to 9, with a weekly rate of 2,473.9 per 100,000 population.

The lowest case rates were in those aged 70 to 79, with a weekly rate of 286.9 per 100,000 population.

Weekly case rates per 100,000 population were highest in the North East at 1,181.9.

Case rates per 100,000 were lowest in London with a weekly rate of 836.2.

The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) in England was 1,351 in week 3, compared to 1,338 in the previous week.

The hospital admission rate for week 3 was 16.01 per 100,000 population, in the previous week it was 18.41 per 100,000 population.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 were highest in the North East, with a rate of 26.12 per 100,000 population.

The highest hospital admission rates continue to be those aged 85 and above.

Professor Steven Riley, Director General of Data, Analytics and Surveillance at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

Although rates of serious illness from Omicron infections remain low, we are still seeing large numbers of cases, especially in primary-aged children.

We encourage everyone to get vaccinated or a booster jab as soon as they are eligible, to continue testing regularly with LFDs – particularly before meeting anyone who is vulnerable – and to take a PCR test if you have symptoms.

By doing this, we’re all playing our part in helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.

Thursday 20 January 2022

The main points from this week’s national influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report are:

Surveillance indicators suggest that at a national level COVID-19 activity decreased in most indicators of week 2 of 2022. COVID-19 hospitalisations decreased in most age groups except those aged 75 to 84 and those aged 85 and over. The overall number of reported acute respiratory incidents decreased in the past week, in England.

Case rates were highest in those aged 5 to 9, with a weekly rate of 1,935.7 per 100,000 population.

The lowest case rates were in those aged 70 to 79, with a weekly rate of 336.0 per 100,000 population.

Weekly case rates per 100,000 population were highest in the North East at 1,410.0.

Case rates per 100,000 were lowest in the South West with a weekly rate of 800.7.

The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) in England was 1,338 in week 2, compared to 1,450 in the previous week.

The hospital admission rate for week 2 was 17.62 per 100,000 population, in the previous week it was 19.92 per 100,000 population.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 were highest in the North East, with a rate of 27.09 per 100,000 population.

The highest hospital admission rates continue to be those aged 85 and above.

Dr Susan Hopkins, Chief Medical Advisor for the UK Health Security Agency, said:

The recent decline in community case rates and individuals requiring hospitalisation is encouraging and it’s thanks to the public, who have taken up vaccination and followed the Plan B measures closely, that we’ve got to this point. However, we should not be complacent. The pandemic is not over yet and we will need to remain cautious to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. I encourage everyone to get the vaccine as soon as they can, to continue testing regularly with LFDs – particularly before periods of high risk and before seeing anyone who is vulnerable – and to take a PCR test if they have symptoms.

Thursday 13 January

The main points from this week’s national influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report are:

Surveillance indicators suggest that at a national level COVID-19 activity decreased in some indicators with case rates decreasing in most groups.

Increases were observed by region in the North East in week 1 of 2022, COVID-19 hospitalisations remained stable and deaths with COVID-19 increased in the most recent week.

The overall number of reported acute respiratory incidents decreased in the past week in England. Changes in testing and population mixing patterns over the last few weeks call for a cautious interpretation of these results.

Case rates were highest in those aged 20 to 29, with a weekly rate of 1,903.3 per 100,000 population.

The lowest case rates were in those aged 80 and above, with a weekly rate of 602.8 per 100,000 population.

Weekly case rates per 100,000 population were highest in the North East at 2,350.8.

Case rates per 100,000 were lowest in the South West with a weekly rate of 1,172.1.

The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) in England was 1,450 in week 1, compared to 1,517 in the previous week.

The hospital admission rate for week 1 was 19.03 per 100,000 population, in the previous week it was 19.12 per 100,000 population.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 were highest in the North East, with a rate of 28.42 per 100,000 population.

The highest hospital admission rates continue to be those aged 85 and above.

Dr. Alicia Demirjian, COVID-19 Public Health Incident Director at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

Overall daily case rates and hospital admissions continue to be high. To protect our loved ones and our health service, it’s still essential that everyone takes all necessary steps to contain this virus. In particular, please get your vaccination or booster jab if you haven’t already.

Thursday 23 December

The main points from this week’s national influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report are:

COVID-19 activity has increased across the UK.  Case rates rose in all age groups except those aged 5 to 9, and there has been an increase in the number of acute respiratory infection incidents in England.

Case rates were highest in those aged 20 to 29, with a weekly rate of 1741.0 per 100,000 population.

The lowest case rates were in those aged 80 and above, with a weekly rate of 112.7 per 100,000 population.

Weekly case rates per 100,000 population were highest in London at 1732.6.

Case rates per 100,000 were lowest in the North East with a weekly rate of 470.1.

The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) in England was 825 in week 50, compared to 621 in the previous week.

The hospital admission rate for week 50 was 7.16 per 100,000 population, in the previous week it was 7.39 per 100,000 population.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 were highest in London, with a rate of 10.53 per 100,000 population.

The highest hospital admission rates continue to be those aged 85 and above.

Professor Steven Riley, Director General of Data, Analytics and Surveillance at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

New cases of COVID-19 continue to climb across nearly every age group and nationally daily cases have reached over 100,000 as Omicron spreads through our communities. This should act as another urgent reminder that everyone must do all they can to contain the spread of this virus.

Thursday 16 December

The main points from this week’s national influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report are:

Surveillance indicators suggest that at a national level COVID-19 activity has increased in most indicators in week 49 of 2021. Case rates increased in most groups.

Case rates were highest in those aged 5 to 9, with a weekly rate of 1021.4 per 100,000 population.

The lowest case rates were in those aged 80 and above, with a weekly rate of 69.5 per 100,000 population.

Weekly case rates per 100,000 population were highest in London at 702.8.

Case rates per 100,000 were lowest in Yorkshire and the Humber with a weekly rate of 352.8.

The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) in England was 621 in week 49, compared to 618 in the previous week.

The hospital admission rate for week 49 was 7.06 per 100,000 population, in the previous week it was 6.71 per 100,000 population.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 were highest in the East of England, with a rate of 8.69 per 100,000 population.

The highest hospital admission rates continue to be those aged 85 and above.

Professor Steven Riley, Director General of Data, Analytics and Surveillance at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

We are now seeing a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases driven by the Omicron variant. We need everyone to take action to stop the spread.

That includes getting your booster vaccine, taking a lateral flow test before meeting people, wearing a face covering in crowded enclosed spaces, ventilating rooms and staying at home if you have symptoms

Thursday 9 December

The main points from this week’s national influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report are:

Surveillance indicators suggest that at a national level COVID-19 activity has increased in some indicators such as case rates for those aged 5 to 9 and the number of acute respiratory infection incidents in England in week 48 of 2021.

Case rates were highest in those aged 5 to 9, with a weekly rate of 1063.8.8 per 100,000 population.

The lowest case rates were in those aged 80 and above, with a weekly rate of 65.4 per 100,000 population.

Weekly case rates per 100,000 population were highest in the South East at 648.5.

Case rates per 100,000 were lowest in Yorkshire and the Humber with a weekly rate of 361.1.

The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) in England was 618 in week 48, compared to 582 in the previous week.

The hospital admission rate for week 48 was 6.40 per 100,000 population, in the previous week it was 6.43 per 100,000 population.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 were highest in the West Midlands, with a rate of 7.56 per 100,000 population.

The highest hospital admission rates continue to be those aged 85 and above.

Dr Sophia Makki, National Incident Director at the UK Health Security Agency, said:

Rising numbers of cases in younger age groups and the spread of the Omicron variant suggests that we are entering a difficult period. It is crucial that we all act now to stop the spread.

If you haven’t done so already, get your jab as soon as possible. It’s absolutely vital that everyone follows updated government rules including on mask use and working from home where you can. If you have any COVID-19 symptoms stay at home and get a PCR test as soon as possible.

Thursday 2 December

The main points from this week’s national influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report are:

Surveillance indicators suggest that at a national level COVID-19 activity has decreased in some indicators such as case rates for those aged 5 to 9 and the number of acute respiratory infection incidents in England in week 47 of 2021.

Case rates were highest in those aged 5 to 9, with a weekly rate of 873.8 per 100,000 population.

The lowest case rates were in those aged 80 and above, with a weekly rate of 51.8 per 100,000 population.

Weekly case rates per 100,000 population were highest in the South East at 517.7.

Case rates per 100,000 were lowest in Yorkshire and Humber with a weekly rate of 308.9.

The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) in England was 582 in week 47, compared to 630 in the previous week.

The hospital admission rate for week 47 was 6.02 per 100,000 population, in the previous week it was 6.80 per 100,000 population.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 were highest in the North East, with a rate of 8.10 per 100,000 population.

The highest hospital admission rates continue to be those aged 85 and above.

Professor Steven Riley, Director General of Data, Analytics and Surveillance at UKHSA, said:

As we observe the Omicron variant emerging, the Delta variant continues to circulate at high levels across all age ranges, and is still causing substantial infection and hospitalisation in older people.  Getting vaccinated, or a booster if you are eligible, is an essential step to prevent the spread of COVID in our communities.

Please wear a mask in crowded places, in shops and on public transport, wash your hands, and ventilate rooms well.  If you have any COVID-19 symptoms stay at home and get a PCR test as soon as possible.

Thursday 25 November

The main points from this week’s national influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report are:

Surveillance indicators suggest that at a national level COVID-19 activity has increased in some indicators such as case rates for those aged 5 to 9 and 10 to 19 and the number of acute respiratory infection incidents in England in week 46 of 2021.

Case rates were highest in those aged 5 to 9, with a weekly rate of 932.3 per 100,000 population.

The lowest case rates were in those aged 80 and above, with a weekly rate of 63.6 per 100,000 population.

Weekly case rates per 100,000 population were highest in the South East at 530.5.

Case rates per 100,000 were lowest in London with a weekly rate of 318.1.

The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) in England was 630 in week 46, compared to 554 in the previous week.

The hospital admission rate for week 46 was 6.49 per 100,000 population, in the previous week it was 7.65 per 100,000 population.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 were highest in the North East, with a rate of 9.37 per 100,000 population.

The highest hospital admission rates continue to be those aged 85 and above.

Professor Steven Riley, Director General of Data, Analytics and Surveillance at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

Rates of COVID-19 continue to increase in younger age groups. While the booster program is protecting many of our friends and relatives, there are still people out there who had not yet taken up their offer of a booster. So as the holiday season approaches and average levels of social mixing go up, please do come forward if you are eligible for a vaccine or a booster, and take up the jab as soon as you are offered.

Older people and those with weaker immune systems are more vulnerable to infection. Always take a rapid lateral flow test before visiting anyone at higher risk of getting seriously ill from the virus.

Small changes can make a big difference in the risk of passing on the infection. Help protect yourself and loved ones by opening windows and doors to increase the air flow when meeting people inside. Please wear a mask in crowded places, wash your hands and, if you have any COVID-19 symptoms, stay at home and get a PCR test as soon as possible.

Previous

Thursday 18 November

The main points from this week’s national influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report are:

Surveillance indicators suggest that at a national level COVID-19 activity has increased in some indicators in week 45 of 2021.

Case rates were highest in those aged 5 to 9, with a weekly rate of 722.9 per 100,000 population.

The lowest case rates were in those aged 80 and above, with a weekly rate of 76.0 per 100,000 population.

Weekly case rates per 100,000 population were highest in the South West at 485.3.

Case rates per 100,000 were lowest in London with a weekly rate of 275.2.

The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) in England was 554 in week 45, compared to 452 in the previous week.

The hospital admission rate for week 45 was 7.57 per 100,000 population, in the previous week it was 7.60 per 100,000 population.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 were highest in the North East, with a rate of 10.88 per 100,000 population.

The highest hospital admission rates continue to be those aged 85 and above.

Professor Steven Riley, Director General of Data, Analytics and Surveillance at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

Rates of COVID-19 continue to increase in those from younger age groups, and hospitalisations remain highest in those aged 85 and over. Following the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) announcement on Monday, more people than ever are eligible for second and booster doses – and it is as important as ever to get vaccinated or receive a booster jab as soon as you are offered one.

Socialising indoors in places with poor ventilation increases the risk of infection. Help protect yourself and loved ones by opening windows and doors to ventilate the room when meeting people inside. Wash your hands regularly and wear a mask in crowded places. If you have any COVID-19 symptoms, stay at home and get a PCR test as soon as possible.

Thursday 11 November

The main points from this week’s national influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report are:

Surveillance indicators suggest that at a national level COVID-19 activity has decreased in some indicators in week 44 of 2021.

Case rates were highest in those aged 10 to 19, with a weekly rate of 561.6 per 100,000 population.

The lowest case rates were in those aged 80 and above, with a weekly rate of 82.0 per 100,000 population.

Weekly case rates per 100,000 population were highest in the South West at 409.9.

Case rates per 100,000 were lowest in London with a weekly rate of 227.8.

The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) in England was 452 in week 44, compared to 502 in the previous week.

The hospital admission rate for week 44 was 7.44 per 100,000 population, in the previous week it was 8.75 per 100,000 population.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 were highest in the North East, with a rate of 11.25 per 100,000 population.

The highest hospital admission rates continue to be those aged 85 and above.

Professor Steven Riley, Director General of Data, Analytics and Surveillance at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

Rates of COVID-19 remain high across the country, and we all need to play our part to drive down infections, hospitalisations and deaths. Vaccines are the best defence against catching COVID-19 and passing it on – so please come forward if you are eligible for a vaccine or a booster, and take up the jab as soon as you are offered.

The risk of infection increases as winter approaches and people spend more time indoors. Help protect yourself and loved ones by washing your hands regularly and wearing a mask in crowded places. When meeting people inside, open windows and doors to ventilate the room. Testing and self-isolation is still critically important – if you have any COVID-19 symptoms, stay at home and get a PCR test as soon as possible.

Thursday 21 October

The main points from this week’s national influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report are:

Surveillance indicators suggest that at a national level COVID-19 activity has increased in most indicators in week 41 of 2021.

Case rates were highest in those aged 10 to 19, with a weekly rate of 1366.8 per 100,000 population.

The lowest case rates were in those aged 80 and above, with a weekly rate of 121.2 per 100,000 population.

Weekly case rates per 100,000 population were highest in the South West at 667.6.

Case rates per 100,000 were lowest in London with a weekly rate of 253.0.

The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) in England was 576 in week 41, compared to 579 in the previous week.

The hospital admission rate for week 41 was 7.20 per 100,000 population, in the previous week it was 6.26 per 100,000 population.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 were highest in the West Midlands, with a rate of 10.08 per 100,000 population.

The highest hospital admission rates continue to be those aged 85 and above.

Professor Steven Riley, Director General of Data, Analytics and Surveillance at UK Health Security Agency, said:

Rates of COVID-19 remain high across the country and hospitalisations are increasing. The high death figures recorded this week act as a timely reminder that we all need to play our part to drive down infections, hospitalisations and deaths – the pandemic is far from over. Vaccines remain the best defence against catching COVID-19 and passing it on – please come forward if you haven’t already and if you are eligible for a booster vaccine, please take up the jab as soon as you are offered.

As winter approaches, help protect yourself and loved ones by washing your hands regularly and wearing a mask in crowded places. When meeting people inside, open windows and doors to ventilate the room. Testing and self-isolation is still critically important – if you have any COVID-19 symptoms, stay at home and get a PCR test as soon as possible.

Thursday 14 October

The main points from this week’s national influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report are:

Surveillance indicators suggest that at a national level COVID-19 activity had increased in some instances in week 40 of 2021.

Case rates were highest in those aged 10 to 19, with a weekly rate of 1120.8 per 100,000 population.

The lowest case rates were in those aged 80 and above, with a weekly rate of 110.8 per 100,000 population.

Weekly case rates per 100,000 population were highest in the East Midlands at 488.7.

Case rates per 100,000 were lowest in London with a weekly rate of 214.2.

The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) in England was 579 in week 40, compared to 543 in the previous week.

The hospital admission rate for week 40 was 6.03 per 100,000 population, in the previous week it was 5.74 per 100,000 population.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 were highest in the North East, with a rate of 9.98 per 100,000 population.

The highest hospital admission rates continue to be those aged 85 and above.

Dr William Welfare, Incident Director at the UK Health Security Agency, said:

Case rates of COVID-19 remain high across the country and have been slowly rising.

As winter approaches, help protect yourself against COVID-19 and flu by washing your hands regularly and wearing a mask in crowded places. When meeting people inside, open windows and doors to ventilate the room.

If you are offered a vaccine for either COVID-19 or flu, please take it. If you have any COVID-19 symptoms, get a PCR test.

Thursday 7 October

The main points from this week’s national influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report are:

Surveillance indicators suggest that at a national level COVID-19 activity remained stable in most indicators in week 39 of 2021.

Case rates were highest in those aged 10 to 19, with a weekly rate of 1047.7 per 100,000 population, although cases are now falling.

The lowest case rates were in those aged 80 and above, with a weekly rate of 86.0 per 100,000 population.

Weekly case rates per 100,000 population were highest in the East Midlands at 442.4.

Case rates per 100,000 were lowest in London with a weekly rate of 197.3.

The number of acute respiratory infection incidents (suspected outbreaks) in England was 543 in week 39, compared to 622 in the previous week.

The hospital admission rate for week 39 was 5.60 per 100,000 population, in the previous week it was 5.44 per 100,000 population.

Hospital admission rates for COVID-19 were highest in the North East, with a rate of 10.10 per 100,000 population.

The highest hospital admission rates continue to be those aged 85 and above.

Dr Mike Gent, Incident Director at UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said:

Cases of COVID-19 remain high across the country, especially among 10 to 19 year olds.

The best way to protect yourself and others is to get a vaccine. While vaccination offers excellent protection against COVID-19, there are things you can do to prevent the spread of the virus.

When meeting people inside, ventilate the room by opening windows and doors. Wear a face covering in crowded places and wash your hands regularly throughout the day.

Avoid mixing with others if you feel unwell for any reason and if you have any symptoms of COVID-19, get a PCR test as soon as possible.

Previous updates were published by Public Health England.

Published 7 October 2021
Last updated 29 February 2024 + show all updates
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