The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has launched the first iteration of its new dashboard, which will serve as a centralized source for infectious disease and outbreak data this winter, making it publicly available in a timely and transparent way.
The dashboard, which goes live today (Tuesday 26 September), will be updated on Thursday each week. It will initially feature the latest information on a number of respiratory diseases, including:
- influenza (flu)
- respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)
- human metapneumovirus (hMPV)
Over time, the data dashboard will be expanded to provide additional health security data, including data relating to incidents of public interest.
The new dashboard is still in development and builds on the huge success of the existing COVID-19 dashboard which, at the peak of the third lockdown, had a record 76.5 million hits in just 24 hours.
The existing dashboard, developed at the height of the pandemic to make information on the virus publicly available, will remain operational for now and should be considered the current data source for COVID-19. This product will be decommissioned in due course.
High levels of influenza during winter 2022 to 2023 and outbreaks of a variety of infectious diseases highlighted the need for UKHSA to be alert to many health threats alongside COVID-19. This new dashboard will allow the agency to share vital data on common winter illnesses that can severely impact communities and health services each year.
Professor Steven Riley, Director General of Data, Analytics and Surveillance at UKHSA, said:
The COVID-19 dashboard was a groundbreaking tool that demonstrated the public's appetite to understand data and provided local and national decision-makers with crucial information that helped to inform response. It is vital we continue to provide this information in a timely and transparent way.
While our new dashboard will initially focus on respiratory diseases, we will look to expand the information we publish constantly, and we would therefore appreciate your feedback on what you would like to see going forward.
The winter of 2022 to 2023 highlighted the impact that dual threats such as COVID-19 and influenza can have, and so it's vital that we make our surveillance data accessible."
In preparation for winter, UKHSA has already announced the new phase of the SIREN study, SIREN 2.0. This study will see the team continue to work with NHS sites in the coming months to assess the impact that respiratory diseases and their new strains have on healthcare workers and settings.
Data from additional winter surveillance of COVID-19 will also help UKHSA to track BA.2.86 and other variants and will feed into the new data dashboard. Details of this additional surveillance for winter 2023 will be announced shortly.