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

Today’s Top Stories

Health

intermountain healthcare...
Mark Jones

Name change coming to Intermountain Healthcare next year

In 2023, Intermountain Healthcare will change its name to Intermountain Health.
2 days ago
ovarian cancer...
Simone Seikaly

A new chance for a fighting chance against ovarian cancer

What may be most alarming about ovarian cancer is that the symptoms are there, but they are quiet and can be mistaken for something else.
2 days ago
Lincoln Beach pictured. Two shooting at Utah Lake happened near this beach....
Simone Seikaly

Utah County Health issues warning about harmful algal blooms

Utah County officials have detected high levels of harmful algal blooms at multiple Utah Lake marinas and beaches.
2 days ago
Intermountain milestone 1 million tests...
Mark Jones

Intermountain Healthcare purchases land near Ephraim

Intermountain Healthcare has plans to develop 35 acres of land in the Ephraim area into a new hospital.
3 days ago
At 5800 So. 1400 W. you find an irrigation canal that attracts  a lot of waterfowl, seagulls and ev...
Mark Jones

Officials warn of additional cases of avian influenza

With the fall migration of wild waterfowl, state officials are warning bird owners to be prepared for additional cases of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza or avian influenza.
3 days ago
Utah homes are recording high levels of radon gas. 
Photo credit: Laura Seitz, Deseret News...
Heather Kelly and Elizabeth Weiler

Utah homes have some of the highest levels of radon gas

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that one in 15 homes in the U.S. have dangerous levels of radon gas. Utah is at much higher risk.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
large group of friends tohether in a park having fun...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

What differentiates BYU’s MBA program from other MBA programs

Commitment to service is at the heart of BYU’s MBA program, which makes it stand out among other MBA programs across the country.
a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Doctors say pediatric influenza and RSV cases are practically non-existent in Utah this year