The actions that have helped keep us safe from Covid-19 over the past two and a half years (lockdowns, physical distancing, wearing masks, washing hands) are probably behind it. “Unprecedented” early surge RSV This year’s infectious disease, according to scientists.
“For as long as there has been a record of RSV and other respiratory illnesses in the United States, there has been a very regular pattern of these outbreaks. Rachel Baker Epidemiologist and assistant professor at Brown University.
“RSV emerges each year in late fall and winter, mostly in young children, then disappears again in spring and summer, and reappears the following winter,” says Baker. “It’s very regular and predictable” – if not.
RSV, or Respiratory Syncytial Virus Cases Begin in US appear 60% higher than the peak week of 2021. CNN’s analysis shows that this is probably an underestimate.
Across the United States, the number of flu cases is has also increased a little earlier than usual.a a handful of schools There are many absentees, and according to medical institutions, the number of sick people is increasing. Other respiratory viruses when it doesn’t fit usual pattern.
There was a similar unusual pattern for respiratory infections such as: adenovirus, parainfluenza, rhinovirus other countries too.
Scientists believe the pandemic’s unparalleled behavior has had an unparalleled impact.
“The extent of social change that has taken place in the Covid pandemic is unprecedented in modern times,” he said. Dr. Kevin Mesakerassociate professor of pediatrics at Children’s Hospital Colorado.
Like Covid-19, RSV and influenza are spread through droplets released into the air when people cough or sneeze. Droplets remain for hours on frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs and light switches.
So people washing their hands, sanitizing surfaces, wearing masks, and keeping their distance from others have done more than stop the spread of coronavirus.
“These interventions have been good at limiting the spread of Covid-19, but RSV and influenzasaid Baker.
“It was really impressive,” said Baker.
But as Covid-19 vaccines and treatments became available, more people returned to school and work and started socializing without masks. They also started sharing germs.
Pandemic behavior is an “immune gap” or “indemnity liabilityThis makes more people in the United States susceptible to diseases like RSV.
Children build natural immunity to viruses when exposed to them. Most children get RSV at some point before they are two years old. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Say.how much does a newborn get passive protection From mothers who pass antibodies through breast milk.
However, for several years, children born during the pandemic and those around them had little chance of contracting RSV or other viruses. Their immunity weakened or did not develop at all. So when those little kids and their parents started interacting with other people, they were more likely to get sick.
“Decreased exposure to endemic viruses has created an immunity gap, which is the prevalence of susceptible individuals who lack pathogen-specific immunity to avoid infection and protect against future infections. group,” Mesacher and Baker wrote in a commentary published in the journal Medical Sciences this summer. lancet.
They warned hospitals that because of this gap, they need to remain flexible and prepare for an unpredictable season of respiratory illness..
“I knew it was inevitable that these diseases would return,” Messaker told CNN.
Comments warned of an influx of infections, including older children unexposed to the virus and newborns whose mothers were unable to pass antibodies because they had not been in contact with these bacteria.
“Now we’re seeing it spread very well,” Baker said. , causing infections in older children.
“That’s how infections work,” she added. “When more cases are created, more cases are created and this spike occurs.”
Baker and Messacar do not believe this early seasonal pattern with RSV will be permanent, but it may take some time to return to a more predictable cycle.
“We’re in a bit of a strange time right now, but I think in the next few years, depending on what happens with Covid, we’ll start to see regular outbreaks of these. If it gets worse and requires more lockdowns, the seasonality of other viruses could be lost again.
Viruses like influenza have more variables at play, Mesaker said.
There is no vaccine to prevent RSV, but there is a vaccine for influenza. So if flu vaccines are properly matched to circulating strains and enough people get them, countries may be able to avoid the surge in cases we see now with RSV.
Scientists are working to develop an RSV vaccine, but it won’t be in time this season.
In the meantime, there are some things that can be done to limit the spread of RSV.
wash your hands Keep frequently used surfaces clean. Sneeze or cough into a tissue or elbow instead of your hands. Boost your immune system with plenty of sleep and a healthy diet. Wear a mask, especially when you are sick. And most importantly, stay home if you are sick.
“All of these non-pharmaceutical interventions are clearly working, and the more we can do to curb cases of these viruses, the better,” Baker said.
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