This site uses cookies to store information on your computer. I'm fine with this Cookie information

Seasonal influenza: update for clinicians

Current influenza viruses circulating

Influenza A can circulate as either A/H1N1 or A/H3N2.  During any given influenza season either H1 or H3 will predominate over the other.  There are also two circulating types of influenza B, B/Victoria lineage and B/Yamagata lineage.  The laboratory will type influenza A to differentiate between H1 and H3, this is important for antiviral therapy in immunocompromised patients.  The results of the influenza A typing will appear on clinical portal/SCI store.  Influenza B virus is also typed but only for epidemiological purposes because there is currently no difference among B/Victoria and B/Yamagata regarding treatment options. Please note: The Point of Care Test will only identify the presence of Influenza A, B or RSV but will not discriminate between H1 and H3. 

Seasonal Influenza activity Scotland:

Information on seasonal influenza activity in Scotland can be found at the Health Protection Scotland influenza webpage: https://www.hps.scot.nhs.uk/a-to-z-of-topics/influenza/, click on “Data and surveillance” for the most recent reports.

Seasonal Influenza activity UK:

Information on seasonal influenza activity across the UK can be found at the Public Health England webpage: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/weekly-national-flu-reports, click on the relevant season for the most recent reports.

Laboratory information

Please see the West of Scotland User manual for information on specimen types and the pathogens tested for at the virus laboratory. WoSSVC User Manual.

Point of care testing (PoCT) is offered at a selected number of sites please see the NHSGGC Influenza/RSV PoCT section of this website for more information.

Influenza results will be available on clinical portal/SCI store; it is the responsibility of the requesting clinicians to look for these results.

Antiviral prophylaxis and treatment

Please start oseltamivir (tamiflu) within 48 hours of symptoms – do not wait for confirmed laboratory result before starting individuals who fall within the at-risk group category.  Patients are more at risk of developing oseltamivir resistance if severely immunosuppressed and infected with A/H1N1. 

Who are at risk of complications from influenza infections?

  • Underlying chronic conditions (neurological, hepatic, renal and pulmonary)
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Severe immunosuppression
  • >65 years of age
  • Pregnancy (included two weeks post partum)
  • Children <6 months age
  • Morbid obese (BMI ≥40

The most up-to-date guidance on influenza antiviral therapy can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/influenza-treatment-and-prophylaxis-using-anti-viral-agents