Flu rates double
First week in 2018 shows further rises
The number of people suffering from flu-like illnesses in Scotland more than doubled in the first week of 2018 compared to the previous week and is four times higher than the same week in 2017.
The latest report from Health Protection Scotland showed that 107 people per 100,000 of the Scottish population were diagnosed in the week ending January 7, up from 46 per 100,000 on the last week of 2017.
The current predominant strain remains one that is covered by this year’s flu vaccine.
Clinicians are encouraging those in eligible groups to protect themselves and their families by getting the vaccine.
Health Secretary Shona Robison added:
“These statistics confirm what we’ve been hearing up and down the country that the complexity of treating flu, including appropriate diagnosis and segregation to avoid cross-contamination, is putting our health system under significant pressure.
“Emergency departments saw the highest level of attendances over the festive period in a number of years - during the two week festive period attendances were up 10% compared to the previous year, with a 20% rise in the week leading up to Christmas. Despite these challenges, over 82% of patients were still seen within the four hour target in Scotland’s core A&Es throughout December, compared to 77.3% in England.
“Staff up and down the country are doing a remarkable job, and I am continuing to visit hospitals around the country to thank them personally for their hard work and dedication during this busy time.”
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Gregor Smith said:
“While we’ve still got a couple of months of winter left, this week’s statistics provide further evidence that the vaccine is a good match against the current most common strains. I would encourage anyone in an eligible group to get vaccinated - it is the best defence against flu.
“The best way to stop the spread of flu is to follow simple hygiene practices. Wash your hands often with warm water and soap, use tissues to trap germs when you cough or sneeze, and bin those tissues as quickly as possible.
“It is so important that people are aware of the steps they can take to avoid being struck down by the virus, and know that it’s not too late to be vaccinated.”
The full weekly report from Health Protection Scotland can be found here:
Statistics show that, in week 1 of 2017, 24.6 Scots per 100,000 were suffering from flu and respiratory illnesses. More detail can be found here:
Further advice on the flu vaccine, including what groups are eligible to access it for free, can be found at www.immunisationscotland.org.uk/