The first of the Public Health directorate’s new reports to monitor levels of respiratory illness in the island was released last week.

It highlights the rates of respiratory illnesses such as flu, Covid-19 and respiratory syncytial virus.

The first report was published on November 4 and will be updated every Friday.

It will be followed by an online campaign advising people how to stay well this winter.

Last week’s report found that there was a stable number of flu and respiratory tract infection numbers, and a decrease in Covid-19 cases, recorded at GPs and the Manx Emergency Doctors Service.

Respiratory illnesses are those which affect breathing by disturbing the airways, lungs, or other parts of the respiratory system.

Public Health report that these illnesses usually peak during the winter months and can create an annual strain on health and social care services. In August, Public Health discontinued the existing weekly reports with the objective of focusing on wider winter surveillance.

In an online statement, Public Health said: ‘The intention is to gather data from a variety of sources to provide a more comprehensive system, allow an early warning for the healthcare system to protect against health and social care pressures, and to have an adaptive system to monitor potential future threats from other viruses which may cause a risk to public health.’

It added: ‘Following the pandemic, social mixing and contact have returned to similar levels to pre-pandemic, and therefore seasonal influenza virus and other respiratory viruses will co-circulate alongside Covid-19 this winter.

‘Global surveillance from the southern hemisphere nations show an increased flu season, the World Health Organization, The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and other global bodies emphases the importance of expanding respiratory reporting to enhance the winter planning process.’

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 island’s 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.’

You can find the weekly reports on the government’s website.