Sue Huang, director of the World Health Organization’s National Influenza Center at New Zealand’s Institute for Environmental Science and Research, said the country’s strict restrictions not only prevented COVID-19, but also eliminated RSV and influenza, a finding Dr. Huang and colleagues published in the journal Nature in February.
July 22, 2021, 1:43 am ET
But as the country opened its borders to Australia, cases of RSV spiked within weeks, as the virus struck a larger-than-usual group of susceptible children, Many of whom were admitted to hospitals.
“I haven’t seen anything like this in 20 years of working as a virologist,” Dr. Huang said. “There is usually a degree of pre-existing immunity due to the previous winter. When you don’t have that kind of protection, it’s like wildfire. The fire can simply continue, and the chain of transmission continues. “
While doctors may test young children to confirm a case of RSV, and many people who have symptoms of a cold will be tested to rule out COVID-19, most people probably don’t know about the specific respiratory virus. I wouldn’t know what caused their symptoms, Dr. Katherine M. said. Edwards, professor of pediatrics at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
“We’re seeing each other again and sharing our viruses, and I think maybe we’re all more vulnerable to viruses that we haven’t seen,” Dr Edwards said. “It’s hard to know what each person has. In adults, in general, the symptoms are the same, and you can’t tell if it’s RSV, rhinovirus, parainfluenza, or another cold virus.
Satya Dandekar, An expert in viral infection and mucosal immunologySaid that while isolation measures did not weaken our immune systems, other factors, including stress, poor sleep habits and increased alcohol consumption, may play a role in how an individual’s immune system responds to respiratory viruses.
“There’s going to be a tremendously variable response in the community that is going to respond well to and deal with infections,” said Dr Dandekar, chair of the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology at the University of California. -Davis School of Medicine. “When a person comes into contact with a pathogen, there must be a rapid increase in response from the immune system and immune cells. With stress and other factors, the army of immune cells is slightly inhibited and slowed down and may not be able to respond fast enough to attack, giving the pathogen enough time to take hold of the host. is. “