Emergency room visits related to the three most disruptive viruses — the flu. Respiratory syncytial virus and Covid — are declining nationwide.But does this mean the end of the dreaded Tripledemic”? Hardly, experts say. Viruses are notoriously difficult to predict.
“We’ve all learned over the last few years, when you try to predict Covid Vice president and enterprise chief epidemiologist at Atrium Health in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Still, hospital emergency room visits for the biggest viral threat began in December, continuing to decline this month. This is especially true for the flu.
Trying to predict what the flu will do between now and the end of the flu season is “dangerous,” said Dr. William Schaffner. An infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee. “It’s impossible to predict what will happen next.”
Most families already know that the flu and other viruses are especially hard on children than adults. According to a study released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Schaffner is a co-author, along with Dr. Christine Thomas. An Epidemic Intelligence Service officer at the CDC who works with the Tennessee Department of Health.
“We were really curious to see how this year would go” after several years with almost no flu, Thomas said.
Their report focused on 4,626 people in Tennessee who had a flu test in mid-November. The flu, the researchers found, grows faster and hits children the hardest. Children were twice as likely as adults to test positive, and they tended to get sicker. Especially if they were infected with several viruses at once, such as the common cold on top of the flu.
A separate study from earlier this week found that children hospitalized with Covid. Had more severe symptoms if they also had another virus.
Children 5 years of age and younger are at risk because their small immune systems may not be exposed to many common viruses during a pandemic.
“If you get a double infection, it makes you sicker, you stay in the hospital longer,” Schaffner said.
Flu hospitalizations for very young children in Tennessee have already reached. The highest rate seen in other bad flu seasons, at 12.6 per 100,000, new research shows. This is similar to what is reported nationally.
But this season is not over. While most flu cases so far are a strain of the virus, B strains tend to pop up in the spring.
“I suspect we’ll have more bumps in the road this respiratory viral season,” Passaretti said.
And influenza A does not confer immunity to the B strain. That is, a person can get the flu twice in one season.
“The flu probably won’t go away completely until we get into early summer.”