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1.1 Cold Weather alert
The latest Level 3 Cold Weather Alert was issued on 28 January 2015 for North East England, North West England, Yorkshire and the Humber. A Level 2 has been issued for West Midlands, East Midlands, East of England South East England, and South West England. London remains on a Level 1. A series of cold weather alerts have been in place across the country since 12 January 2015.
Prior level 2 and 3 cold weather alert periods this season have occurred from 21 to 23 January 2015, 25 to 31 December 2014, 11 to 13 December 2014.
1.2 Syndromic surveillance
Syndromic Surveillance report that during week 4 there were small increases in a number of respiratory indicators in children aged less than 15 years across several syndromic surveillance systems.
In week 4 2015 (ending 25 January), indicators of influenza activity decreased or were at similar levels to the previous week in England. The Department of Health alert issued on the prescription of antiviral medicines by GPs is still active.
The number of laboratory reports of norovirus in the current season is 10% lower overall compared to the 5-year seasonal average (from season 2009 and 2010 to season 2013 and 2014). Laboratory reports are currently at lower levels than the same weeks in previous years. Reports of outbreaks of diarrhoea and vomiting in hospitals continue to be reported at similar levels to previous years.
Rotavirus activity is low; laboratory reports are 37% lower than the 10 season average (from season 2003 to 2004 to season 2012 to 2013). The decreased rotavirus activity is likely to be associated with the introduction of the oral vaccine in July 2013.
1.6 All-cause mortality
Significant excess mortality in 65+ year olds in England was seen with the standardised EuroMOMO algorithm in weeks 50 2014 to 4 2015. This coincides with circulating influenza and the recent cold snaps.