Latest figures from the Health Protection Agency (HPA) up to 31 January 2013 show that flu activity remains at a similar level compared to the previous week based on a number of indicators, including GP consultation rates in England and the proportion of calls to NHS direct.
The number of laboratory confirmed cases of norovirus have also fallen again over the last week with 150 cases being reported during week three (ending Sunday 20 January) compared to 177 in week two.
The latest figures show that GP consultation rates have decreased in England from 13.6 per 100,000 last week to 11.1 this week and in Northern Ireland (47.9 down from 53.7). Rates have increased slightly in Scotland from 33.8 per 100,000 last week to 40.5 this week and remained stable in Wales with 11.2 per 100,000 last week and 10.5 this week.
Calls received by NHS Direct for cold/flu and fever remained stable below their thresholds of 1.6 per cent and 11.7 per cent respectively.
There have been 4,892 confirmed cases of norovirus so far this season (from the beginning of July 2012 to January 20, 2013). This is 41 per cent higher than the number of cases reported to the same point last year when there were 3,458.
During the two weeks up to 29 January there were 19 hospital outbreaks of suspected or confirmed norovirus reported, compared to 24 in the previous fortnight, bringing the total of reported outbreaks for the season to 813 (64 per cent of which were laboratory confirmed as due to norovirus).
Dr Richard Pebody, head of seasonal flu surveillance at the HPA said: “Overall flu activity has decreased compared to the previous week."