RSV Rise And Immunity Gap


Currently reported skyrocketing incidence of new RSV (Respiratory syncytial virus) cases in the young child is reportedly due the perceived pandemic “immunity gap” according to some scientists, CNN Health writes.

Rachel Baker, an epidemiologist and assistant professor at Brown University, told CNN “As long as we’ve had a record of RSV and other respiratory diseases in the United States, there have been these very regular patterns of outbreaks. RSV pops up every year in the late autumn/wintertime and has these outbreaks mostly in young kids. Then it disappears again for the spring/summer months and pops up again the following winter”, said Baker. “It’s very regular and predictable.”

According to CNN analysis, RSV cases in the US showing up since spring and are now 60% higher than 2021’s peak week. “Across the US, the number of flu cases has also been increasing a little earlier than usual. A handful of schools have seen large absences, and medical offices say they are seeing more people sick with other respiratory viruses at times that don’t fit the usual patterns.”

Dr. Kevin Messacar, an associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Children’s Hospital Colorado, told CNN “The degree of societal changes that occurred with the Covid pandemic really is unprecedented in modern day.”

Messacar and Baker wrote this summer in a commentary published in the medical journal The Lancet “Decreased exposure to endemic viruses created an immunity gap – a group of susceptible individuals who avoided infection and therefore lack pathogen-specific immunity to protect against future infection.”

“Now we’re in a little bit of a strange period, but I think in the next few years, we’ll start to see those regular outbreaks – well, depending on what happens with Covid,” Dr. Baker added to CNN. If the coronavirus gets bad enough that more lockdowns are necessary, it could once again throw off the seasonality of other viruses.

For protection, CNN adds, people should wash hands. “Keep frequently used surfaces clean. Sneeze or cough into a tissue or into your elbow rather than your hands. Boost your immunity by getting plenty of sleep and eating a healthy diet. Wear a mask, especially when you’re sick. And most important, if you’re sick, stay home.”