A new weekly report will monitor the levels of respiratory illness on the Island this winter.
The report will highlight the rates of respiratory illnesses such as influenza, COVID-19 and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) using data collected by Public Health.
The data used will include the number of respiratory illnesses recorded at GPs or the Manx Emergency Doctors Service (MEDS), flu and COVID-19 vaccination statistics and global surveillance data.
Public Health will update the report every Friday, and it will be followed by an online campaign advising people how to stay well this winter.
Respiratory illnesses are those which affect breathing by disturbing the airways, lungs, or other parts of the respiratory system. These illnesses usually peak during the winter months, creating an annual strain on health and social care services.
The reports will help Government forecast the wider impact of winter illnesses, as well as raising awareness of the prevalence of sickness across the Island to the general public.
Interim Director of Public Health, Professor Hugo van Woerden, said:
‘This surveillance of these types of illnesses will help us see any sickness trends this winter, it will also act as an early warning for the Islands healthcare system to protect against seasonal pressures and monitor potential future threats from other viruses which may cause a risk to public health. The reports are a work in progress, we hope to continue adding different kinds of local data as it becomes available to us, and to look at the global trends.’
‘We hope these will be useful to the general public too, when taking responsibility for their own response to the levels of illness on the Island, considering some of our winter health messaging about continued hand and respiratory hygiene, staying at home when you are unwell, and letting fresh air in especially in crowded venues.'
In the coming months more data will be added to the reports as different surveillance methods are agreed.
This will include data from random swabbing at GPs to test for influenza, SARS CoV-2 and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). COVID19 mortality data will also be included in the reports, once the methodology has been agreed. Public Health are also looking at the possibility of conducting waste water testing on Island for respiratory viruses.
You can view the report online on the Surveillance of seasonal respiratory illnesses page.