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1.1 Cold Weather alert
All regions in England are currently at a Level 1 Cold Weather Alert.
Prior level 2 and 3 cold weather alert periods this season have occurred from 12 Jan to 8 Feb 2015, 25 to 31 December 2014 and 11 to 13 December 2014.
In week 9 2015 (ending 1 March), indicators of influenza activity generally remain at similar or lower levels compared to last week, although influenza B activity appears to be increasing. The Department of Health alert issued on the prescription of antiviral medicines by GPs is still active.
1.3 Syndromic surveillance
Syndromic surveillance state there is nothing new to report during week 9. Consultations, calls, and/or attendances for diarrhoea and gastroenteritis were stable across most systems during week 9, although there were some increases in young children in the GP out of hours system.
Laboratory reports of norovirus in the current season are eleven percent lower overall compared to the 5-year seasonal average (from season 2009 and 2010 to season 2013 and 2014). Currently laboratory reports are at similar levels compared to 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 62% 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
In week 9 2015, significant excess all-cause mortality by week of death was seen through the EuroMOMO algorithm in England in 65+ year olds, though this is now just above the significance threshold. Since week 40 2014, significant excess mortality has been observed between week 50 2014 and week 9 2015 predominantly in 65+ year olds, peaking in week 2 2015. This period coincides with circulating influenza and cold snaps.