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All regions of England have been at Cold Weather Alert Level 1 ‘winter preparedness and action’ since 1 November 2014.
Syndromic Surveillance indicates there were further increases in respiratory indicators during week 48. Of particular note is the increase in GP consultations for asthma and Emergency Department attendances for asthma/wheeze/difficulty breathing, both in the 5 to 14 years age group. We will continue to monitor these indicators over coming days.
Although overall influenza activity is at low levels in week 48 2014 (ending 30 November), there are signs of increasing activity with influenza-confirmed outbreaks reported in the community and the number of influenza-confirmed hospitalisations increasing. respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) continues to circulate, predominantly in under 5 year olds.
The number of laboratory reports of norovirus in the season to date is higher overall than the 5 year seasonal average (from season 2009 and 2010 to season 2013 and 2014). However, the number of laboratory reports in the last 3 weeks is similar to the average. 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 slightly 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.
In week 48 2014, no excess all-cause mortality by week of death was seen across the UK through the EuroMOMO algorithm.