The Francis Crick Institute
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SARS-CoV-2, influenza A/B and respiratory syncytial virus positivity and association with influenza-like illness and self-reported symptoms, over the 2022/23 winter season in the UK: a longitudinal surveillance cohort.

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journal contribution
posted on 2024-04-02, 10:49 authored by Elisabeth Dietz, Emma Pritchard, Koen Pouwels, Muhammad Ehsaan, Joshua Blake, Charlotte Gaughan, Eric Haduli, Hugh Boothe, Karina-Doris Vihta, Tim Peto, Nicole Stoesser, Philippa Matthews, Nick Taylor, Ian Diamond, Ruth Studley, Emma Rourke, Paul Birrell, Daniela De Angelis, Tom Fowler, Conall Watson, David Eyre, Thomas House, Ann Sarah Walker
BACKGROUND: Syndromic surveillance often relies on patients presenting to healthcare. Community cohorts, although more challenging to recruit, could provide additional population-wide insights, particularly with SARS-CoV-2 co-circulating with other respiratory viruses. METHODS: We estimated the positivity and incidence of SARS-CoV-2, influenza A/B, and RSV, and trends in self-reported symptoms including influenza-like illness (ILI), over the 2022/23 winter season in a broadly representative UK community cohort (COVID-19 Infection Survey), using negative-binomial generalised additive models. We estimated associations between test positivity and each of the symptoms and influenza vaccination, using adjusted logistic and multinomial models. RESULTS: Swabs taken at 32,937/1,352,979 (2.4%) assessments tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, 181/14,939 (1.2%) for RSV and 130/14,939 (0.9%) for influenza A/B, varying by age over time. Positivity and incidence peaks were earliest for RSV, then influenza A/B, then SARS-CoV-2, and were highest for RSV in the youngest and for SARS-CoV-2 in the oldest age groups. Many test positives did not report key symptoms: middle-aged participants were generally more symptomatic than older or younger participants, but still, only ~ 25% reported ILI-WHO and ~ 60% ILI-ECDC. Most symptomatic participants did not test positive for any of the three viruses. Influenza A/B-positivity was lower in participants reporting influenza vaccination in the current and previous seasons (odds ratio = 0.55 (95% CI 0.32, 0.95)) versus neither season. CONCLUSIONS: Symptom profiles varied little by aetiology, making distinguishing SARS-CoV-2, influenza and RSV using symptoms challenging. Most symptoms were not explained by these viruses, indicating the importance of other pathogens in syndromic surveillance. Influenza vaccination was associated with lower rates of community influenza test positivity.


Crick (Grant ID: CC2223, Grant title: Matthews CC2223)