Thursday, January 10, 2013

HPA: Weekly update of norovirus activity

[You can obtain the weekly updates by looking at the right side-bar of the blog, under the title of "Weekly Updates of Norovirus Activity" under the title of Norovirus Sydney 2012.
We should have another update this week.  This update states that during the 2 week period they recorded 29 hospital outbreaks and 76% of those 29 reports led to ward/bay closures or restrictions to admissions.  That is quite a bit.

Report date: 31 December 2012
Hospital outbreak reports

In the two weeks between 17/12/2012 and 30/12/2012 the HPA hospital outbreak reporting scheme (HNORS) recorded 29 suspected or confirmed outbreaks of norovirus. Of these, 22 (76 percent) led to ward/bay closures or restrictions to admissions and 11 (38 percent) outbreaks were recorded as laboratory confirmed due to norovirus. In this season (since week 27 2012) 590 outbreaks have been reported, 517 (88 percent) of which reported ward/bay closures or restrictions to admissions and 358 (61 percent) were reported as laboratory confirmed norovirus outbreaks. In the last season (week 27 2011 – week 26 2012) there were 1653 outbreaks of which 1291 (78 percent) led to ward closures and 1075 (65 percent) were laboratory confirmed as due to norovirus*.

There is also a worrisome report here:

Syndromic surveillance data
Syndromic surveillance data is a useful indicator for the level of gastrointestinal disease in the community. The syndromes are not specific diagnoses however, the proportion of calls to NHS direct for vomiting has been shown to be a useful indicator of increased levels of norovirus activity in the community.
The latest HPA/NHS syndromic surveillance bulletin (no. 117) reports that the proportion of calls for diarrhoea and vomiting are stable and within seasonally expected levels. Note there is currently an issue with syndromic calls data in the under 1 year age group, see the syndromic surveillance web page for further details.
From the above link:
Data for 17 December 2012 – 23 December 2012
PLEASE NOTE that due to the ongoing transition of urgent care services across England, including the introduction of NHS 111, the volume of NHS Direct syndromic calls is gradually declining (figure 1), particularly in those areas where NHS 111 is currently operational. Please see notes for further details.
The national level of NHS Direct cold/flu and fever calls has been rising steadily over the past three weeks (Figure 2). Experience from several years’ surveillance of NHS Direct calls has shown that rises in cold/flu calls (all ages) and fever calls (5-14 yrs), above calculated threshold levels, may indicate a rise in influenza/influenza-like illness in the community. The weekly and daily call proportions for fever 5-14 years and cold/flu calls are now above the influenza threshold (speedometer below). These findings are consistent with other influenza indicators such as national laboratory reports of influenza B in those aged 5-14 years and reported school outbreaks.

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