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Urgent warning as THREE viruses hit children at once, medic warns

A MEDIC has warned children are being hit by three viruses at once, as experts say the Covid pandemic has wiped out their immunity to bugs.

Two years of house arrest has left her defenses against disease lower than is typical for her age, experts say.

Children test positive for a range of bugs, some not typical of this time of year, experts say

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Children test positive for a range of bugs, some not typical of this time of year, experts sayPhoto credit: Getty

In the UK, viruses that peak in the winter months are on the rise despite rising temperatures.

The unusual patterns were also seen last summer but appear to have continued even though Covid has largely fizzled out.

In the US, doctors at Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital said children were brought in in May with a staggering seven respiratory viruses.

The corona virus is blamed for the phenomenon.

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“That’s not typical of any time of year, and certainly not typical of May and June,” Thomas Murray, an infection control expert and associate professor of pediatrics at Yale, told the Washington Post.

Some hospitalized children have been co-infected with two viruses and some with three viruses, he said.

Prof Will Irving, a professor of virology at the University of Nottingham who works in a diagnostics laboratory, said it was not uncommon for children with cold symptoms to test positive for multiple viruses at the same time.

But it’s the combination of errors that’s bizarre – he said tests that would normally be restricted to the winter are also used in the summer months.

He told The Sun: “In the lab we know we now have to process samples for this range of respiratory viruses.

“Although in previous summers we may not have done all the testing because, for example, we just don’t see flu in the summer.

“We include flu and RSV and all our breath tests [at Queens Medical Centre, Nottingham].”

For decades, doctors have relied on cyclical flares of the virus to diagnose patients – but are now having to adjust protocols.

Peter Hotez, a molecular virologist and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, told The Post, “You would see a kid with a febrile illness and you’d think, ‘What time of year is it? ‘”

“Unusual Phenomenon”

In the UK, a spate of infections caused by the viruses RSV, parainfluenza and adenovirus is unexpected for this time of year.

Prof Irving said the “normal circulatory patterns of these viruses were clearly influenced by [Covid] Dimensions”.

He said: “The basic biological behavior of the virus has not changed. It affected the human population that the viruses infect.

“Over the past two years, one, two and three year olds have been largely protected from the spread of these viruses because the lockdown has reduced spread.

“So they weren’t exposed to the routine, relatively trivial viral infections that young children get.

“We’ve never done that before in our lives or and we don’t know what effect that had on these kids’ immunity.”

He said that although children’s immune systems “haven’t been properly trained,” there doesn’t seem to be an increase in the severity of the disease.

RSV, a common cold that can be life-threatening in very few babies, traditionally limits its attacks to late fall to spring, peaking in the cold winter months.

But surprising health officials, it rose sharply last summer, fell flat over the winter and is now picking up again.

According to UK health and safety data, positivity (an indication of prevalence) reached 4.5 per cent in early June.

The highest positivity is among the under 5 year olds at 15.2 percent.

Prof Irving said: “We could predict that RSV would appear around November and disappear in mid-February, and it would happen every year.”

Rhinovirus infections peak in September to November and again in spring from March to May.

But the incidence fell in March this year, was lowest in April and is now on the way up, currently at 13.8 percent.

Adenovirus infections such as tonsillitis and tummy bugs peak in winter and early spring.

Cases have been on a slow upward trend since the fall and positivity is now at 4.1 percent, with the highest positivity among under-5s at 8.5 percent.

The pathogen is being investigated as the cause of a mysterious increase in liver inflammation in children (hepatitis).

“It’s an unusual phenomenon,” said Prof. Irving.

“We may or may never find out why it’s happening. But it must be more than a coincidence that happened after two years of pandemic.”

In the meantime, the flu has practically disappeared for the last two winters.

Prof Irving said cases came to Queen Mary’s hospital in August which was “extraordinary”.

“I’m a little concerned that the flu will come back, and in a big way. And it will probably come back sometime next winter.

“Australia, which is currently in the winter, has seen a huge spike in influenza cases. I am sure that this will be repeated in the northern hemisphere.”

Viruses like RSV behave in previously unknown ways. The incidence of the winter bug peaked in the summer, declined during the cold months, and is now rising again

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Viruses like RSV behave in previously unknown ways. The incidence of the winter bug peaked in the summer, declined during the cold months, and is now rising again
The flu has all but disappeared in the last two years. The incidence (black line) in winter 2021 was unusually low compared to winter 2019 (dotted line)

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The flu has all but disappeared in the last two years. The incidence (black line) in winter 2021 was unusually low compared to winter 2019 (dotted line)

https://www.the-sun.com/health/5565479/urgent-warning-kids-hit-three-viruses-one-time/ Urgent warning as THREE viruses hit children at once, medic warns

Sarah Y. Kim

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