HEALTH

Doctors say pediatric influenza and RSV cases are practically non-existent in Utah this year

Feb 22, 2021, 6:14 PM
(Jordan Allred, Deseret News, file)...
(Jordan Allred, Deseret News, file)
(Jordan Allred, Deseret News, file)

SALT LAKE CITY – What flu season? Doctors with Intermountain Healthcare say the efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 are having an extremely strong impact on the spread of other respiratory problems like influenza and RSV, making our usual flu season practically non-existent, this year.  That may seem like good news, but doctors say it could lead to a very big problem in the near future.

Intermountain Healthcare officials are calling it “unheard of” and an “unprecedented plummet” of pediatric influenza and RSV cases.  Infectious disease doctor Andrew Pavia says Primary Children’s Hospital would normally be filled with infants and toddlers sickened with RSV this time of year.

“Normally, we average about 80 a week. In a really bad year, it might be 120 hospitalizations a week,” Pavia says.

This year, there have been zero… yes, zero RSV hospitalizations and only one child admitted to the hospital for influenza, and Pavia says he has never seen a drop in cases quite like this.  The CDC is reporting only 1,400 confirmed cases of influenza across the entire country, and Pavia says we would normally have seen over 500 thousand cases by now, nationwide.

Pavia believes things like wearing masks, social distancing and good hygiene are some of the factors in this drop.  But, if those measures were so successful in slowing the spread of RSV and the flu, why did we see cases of COVID-19 spike in 2020?  Pavia says they aren’t 100 percent certain why this is happening, but they have a theory.

He says, “Viruses interfere with each other.  When one virus ‘dominates the jungle’ it forces all the other animals out, essentially,” Pavia says.  “We don’t have a lot of good evidence for that.  It’s only a theory.”

However, big problems could be in store for next winter.  Pavia says these respiratory problems aren’t going away.  In fact, when the viruses do return, Pavia expects them to come roaring back in very high numbers.

“It’s very likely that when flu and RSV have been away for a while you have more people fully susceptible to it,” he says.

Pavia points to the current RSV situation in Australia.  That country has loosened some of its travel restrictions and safety recommendations after a drop in COVID-19 cases, and RSV is making a strong comeback, there.

“They’re seeing a huge surge in RSV, higher than they have in any normal year.  What’s even stranger is the really high surge is that it’s happening in the middle of the Australian summer,” Pavia says.

Pavia believes mask wearing could become a very common thing in the US during the flu season.  He says that practice has significantly slowed the spread of respiratory viruses in Asia.

 

Other articles:

COVID-19 deaths in Utah: Who were the people that we’ve lost?

Dave & Dujanovic: Flu numbers in Utah are way down

Pandemics: Spanish flu of 1918 vs. coronavirus of 2020

Health

Dogs and cats cannot get the avian flu...
Aimee Cobabe

Avian flu in Utah causes worry in pet owners

A Utah veterinarian explained there is no reason to worry about your cats or dogs getting the avian flu. He encouraged pet vaccinations.
5 months ago
Utah national parks no longer have a mask mandate...
Chandler Holt

Masks no longer required in national parks

Since a federal judge struck down the CDC's transportation mask mandate, guests in national parks can choose if they'd like to wear a mask or not.
6 months ago
New eligibility rules for pandemic-EBT program...
Waverly Golden

New eligibility guidelines for Pandemic-EBT

Utah households will have to apply for free or reduced-price meal benefits with their local school by May 6 to possibly receive Pandemic-EBT.
6 months ago
Intermountain Healthcare facilities upgrade landscaping...
Waverly Golden

Intermountain Healthcare landscaping gets a new look

Landscaping at Intermountain Healthcare facilities is getting a new look to help save water as Utah still experiences a bad drought.
6 months ago
A train at a stop during Free Fare February....
Martha Harris

UTA, Salt Lake International Airport drop mask requirement

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Transit Authority says the agency has dropped its mask mandate for bus and train travelers. The decision comes after a federal judge ruled Monday that the mask mandate was unlawful. The Biden Administration is currently reviewing that ruling. In a statement to KSL NewsRadio, UTA spokeswoman Andrea Packer said […]
6 months ago
BYU professors finds that insulin plays a vital role in obesity...
Waverly Golden

BYU professor finds that insulin plays a big role in obesity

Ben Bikman, a professor at BYU, conducts research to find how insulin plays a role in obesity.
6 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Prescription opioid...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
...

Tax Tuesday: The Most Common Mistakes People Make When Filing Their Taxes

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.
...

Tax Tuesday: How will last year’s child tax credits affect you?

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.
...

Tax Tuesday: Key Information Before the Filing Deadline

Businesses can receive a credit of up to $5,000 per employee in 2020 and up to $21,000 per employee in 2021.
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
Doctors say pediatric influenza and RSV cases are practically non-existent in Utah this year