Academic journal

This virus causing more hospitalizations than COVID? Experts explain why

After a steep decline in 2020 and 2021, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a seasonal virus that typically causes mild cold-like symptoms, are coming back strong. The infection is on the rise and the hospitalization rate linked to it is the highest since 2010 in the United States. Noting the symptoms, immunologist Scott Hensley said: “It’s possible that this year is sort of the grandfather of all in terms of the flu.”

The US CDC has also issued an alert about it.

But the question is why there is a sudden increase in influenza and RSV this year.

Why is there a sudden increase in flu and RSV symptoms?

Environment not conducive to the spread of RSV: Over the past two years, factors such as temperature and humidity conducive to the spread of RSV were not favorable, pointed out an epidemiologist from the Yale School of Public Health in New Haven, Connecticut, quoted by the journal. Nature scientist.

And that factor has made the population, especially children, immunologically naïve to the virus, said Hensley, who currently works at the University of Pennsylvania. Normally, children are infected on their second birthday. Now, “you’re going to end up having kids who are three or four right now who have never seen RSV.”

Declining immunity among the adult population: Among the older population, which has been exposed to the virus, the problem is declining immunity. Every year the population is exposed to a little bit of virus and this greatly increases the level of antibodies. But “this kind of asymptomatic stimulation may not have happened in recent years,” John Tregoning, an immunologist at Imperial College London, told Nature magazine.

The Covid has caused immune deficiencies: Some experts have also pointed out on social media that Covid infection may have caused immune deficiencies in people and that is why people are now more susceptible to other infections. However, there is no evidence to support this theory.

Omicron provided short-term protection against influenza: On the other hand, there is another theory which suggests that infection with one virus can trigger a strong innate immune response which could prevent infection with another virus.

Hensley points out that last year’s first flu wave subsided shortly after Omicron’s outbreak began. Perhaps the Omicron infection provided short-lived protection against the flu. Or maybe Omicron’s surge just convinced people to mask up and keep their distance.

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