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Major infectious diseases – England’s update, week 4

TL&DR: We are approaching a new Covid wave, driven by XBB.1.5. Not very good news for flu and RSV either, and Scarlet fever still at exceptionally high levels. So, a rather gloomy update, hence a nice picture above (Sunset over river Tay from Dundee Law, Scotland).


Covid cases are picking up again; both notifications and hospitalisations have gone up in the last week of January.

The daily notifications – more up to date than the above UKHSA data – also show the numbers picking up in the youngest (0-14yo) and in their parents (25-44yo) and grandparents (75+).

I am concerned about the Scottish data, with the drop suggesting lack of testing rather than low numbers.

This wave seems to be coming quicker than I expected, possibly because of the new variant(s). The XBB.1.5 one is fast growing is now a dominating one (not seen yet in the picture below).


The flu season is not over yet and the positivity seems to be levelling off. As usual, I expect the last point to be revised upwards and so we might see an increase again.


To complete a set of bad news, RSV admissions have picked up again. Hopefully, the seasonal pattern will be restored soon and we will see drop again, the epidemic might be still a problem for some time.

Scarlet fever

Following a Twitter exchange recently, here is a graph of Scarlet fever cases without a logarithmic scale. This shows the real scale of this year’s outbreak which dwarves the previous years.

And, it is possibly not over yet, with the last 2-3 data points likely to be updated upwards next week.


I still have not managed to digitise the UKHSA data, so here is a figure from the most recent report. It is a mixed picture, with some increase where we should be seeing a decline, but probably no reason to panic (yet).

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