Coronavirus: Before and after the pandemic – How common are respiratory infections

Coronavirus: Before and after the pandemic – How common are respiratory infections
Coronavirus: Before and after the pandemic – How common are respiratory infections

The frequency of respiratory syncytial virus RSV infections in older adults before and after the COVID-19 pandemic

The Doctors of the Therapeutic Clinic of the School of Medicine National and Kapodistrian University of Athens Theodora Psaltopoulou, Rodanthi Eleni Syrigou, Yannis Danasis, Panos Malandrakis, and Thanos Dimopoulos (Chancellor of EKPA) summarize the data of the recent publication by Young J. Juhn and colleagues in the prestigious scientific journal Jama Network Open on the subject of incidence of RSV respiratory syncytial virus infections in older adults before and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s about cohort study of adults residing in the southeastern state of Minnesota, USAand included adults aged 50 years and older during two RSV seasons (2019–2021) in order to assessment of the incidence of RSV positive case with acute respiratory infection (ARI). The study assessed outcomes at 2 – 4 weeks, 6 – 7 months and 12 – 13 months after RSV – ARI diagnosis. RSV-ARI frequency was calculated during each RSV season, and specifically before the pandemic (October 2019 to April 2020), during the pandemic (October 2020 to April 2021), and during the non-RSV season (May to September 2021) to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

2,325 participants took part in the study with a median age (range) 67 (50-98) years, with a total of 1380 (59%) women and 2240 (96%) non- White Hispanics. The pre-pandemic incidence rate of positive RSV-ARI was 48.6 (95% CI 36.9-62.9) per 1000 person-years with an incidence rate of 2.50% (95% CI 1.90%-3.21% ). No cases of RSV-ARI were identified during the RSV season amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In summer 2021, an RSV-ARI incidence rate of 10.2 (95% CI, 4.1-21.1) per 1000 person-years and an infection rate of 0.42% (95% CI 0.17%-0.86 %).

Based the results of the RSV pre-pandemic periodthe participants with RSV-ARI (versus a corresponding acute respiratory infection with a negative RSV test) reported significantly lower performance on quality of life indices within 2 – 4 weeks of diagnosis (physical health limitations, fatigue, difficulty in social activities). In addition, the lower performance in quality of life indicators remained, although to a lesser extent and in the long term (fatigue, difficulty in social activities, limitation due to emotional problem both at 6 – 7 months and at 12 – 13 months after diagnosis). The results were regardless of age, gender, race and/or ethnicity, socio-economic status and them high-risk comorbidities.

In conclusion, the study showed that the burden of acute infection of RSV in adults over 50 years in the period before the COVID-19 pandemic was significant. After a reduction in RSV-ARI from October 2020 to April 2021, the infection reappeared in the summer of 2021. The RSV-ARI was associated with significant lower performance in quality of life indicators both short and long term.

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The article is in Greek

Tags: Coronavirus pandemic common respiratory infections

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