Viruses have been behaving in unusual ways since the pandemic, The Washington Post reports. Flu seasons have been lasting longer and cases of other illnesses are appearing at a higher rate than normal.
A longer flu season: Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital saw a range of seven respiratory viruses in the month of May — including Rhinovirus, adenovirus, respiratory syncytial virus and the coronavirus, The Washington Post stated.
- Thomas Murray, an infection-control expert says that this is unusual. “That’s not typical for any time of year and certainly not typical in May and June,” Murray said to The Washington Post.
- “We’ve never seen a flu season in the U.S. extend into June,” Dr. Scott Roberts, an associate medical director for infection prevention at Yale New Haven Hospital, told CNBC.
COVID-19 isn’t the only rampant illness: Several areas are seeing record-high cases of certain illnesses post pandemic.
- Tuberculosis is rising throughout the globe, specifically in Washington state.
- Monkeypox, what was once a rare virus, is now spreading quickly in some parts of Europe and North America, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
What does COVID-19 have to do with it? The Washington State Department of Health explains that tuberculosis and COVID-19 have similar symptoms.
- “Widespread disruptions in public health and health care services and missed TB diagnoses due to similarities in symptoms between COVID-19 and TB are thought to have contributed to TB cases rising both locally and globally.”
- “Two years of reduced exposure have lowered individual immunity to diseases and made society as a whole more vulnerable,” CNBC states. This is especially true in children, who haven’t had as many opportunities to gain immunity to these viruses.
However, CNBC notes to be aware of “surveillance bias.” Since COVID, the general public has been more aware of and interested in viral outbreaks.
- This doesn’t mean that cases are necessarily growing; it is possible that health officials are just reporting more cases. “It’s not that the disease is more prevalent, but that it gets more attention,” Eyal Leshem, an infectious disease specialist, told CNBC.