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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/winter-health-watch-summary-26-march-2015/winter-health-watch-summary-8-january-2015
All regions of England are at Cold Weather Alert Level 1 ‘winter preparedness and action’.
A Level 2 Cold Weather Alert was issued on 25 December for the period 26 to 31 December across England. This was upgraded to a Level 3 alert for North East England, North West England, Yorkshire and the Humber, East Midlands and West Midlands on 26 December, with other regions remaining at level 2. A previous Level 2 alert was issued for the period 11 to 13 December for North East England, North West England, Yorkshire, and the Humber.
Syndromic surveillance indicators for respiratory infections, including influenza-like illness, decreased in children during week 1, however there were further increases in adults, particularly in the elderly.
GP consultations for severe asthma and lower respiratory tract infection continued to increase in adults, and are currently at levels higher than compared to recent years.
In week 1 2015 (ending 4 January), allowing for bank holiday reporting breaks, across indicators influenza activity was at similar or higher levels than those reported the previous week. Overall, levels are now higher than the peak of flu activity observed in the last 3 seasons, but have not reached the levels seen in the last notable seasons of 2010 to 2011 and 2008 to 2009. The Department of Health has issued an alert on the prescription of antiviral medicines by GPs.
The number of laboratory reports of norovirus in the season to date is similar to the five year seasonal average (from season 2009 and 2010 to season 2013 and 2014). Laboratory reports are currently at slightly 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 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 51 2014, no excess all-cause mortality by week of death was seen in England through the EuroMOMO algorithm (data for week 52 and week 1 not yet available because of Christmas reporting delays).
2. Surveillance reports updated weekly
3. Further information
4. Planning resources
- PHE has recently introduced a new laboratory reporting system, so direct comparisons between norovirus and rotavirus data from the previous system (LabBase2) and the new system (SGSS) may not be valid.