We almost forgot them! While they were on the verge of extinction last year, winter viruses started to return. Again, the flu, gastroenteritis, tonsillitis, and the common cold sting in the throat, make the nostrils run and upset the stomach. In question, the cooler temperatures, but especially the relaxation of the barrier gestures caused by the strong vaccination coverage, made French women and men want to shake hands and kiss each other again.
So, should we prepare for a classic winter of viral pandemics outside of Covid-19? Or a bigger comeback after their absence last winter?
“We find an autumn almost like the fall of 2019”
Between September 13 and 19, “the incidence of acute respiratory infections seen in a general medicine consultation (or teleconsultation) has been estimated at 65 cases per 100,000 population,” he notes. guards network In its latest epidemiological bulletin. In terms of the digestive system, “the rate of acute diarrhea cases was estimated at 82 cases per 100,000 people.” It is not enough to actually talk about epidemics, but in general practice, the increase in numbers has been confirmed. “We find an autumn similar to what happened around 2019,” says Dr. Jean-Louis Ben Susan, General. “It is certainly still lagging compared to a ‘normal’ year before Covid, but it is clear that winter illnesses are on the rise, both in children and young adults.” Practitioner and Secretary General of the Federation
Among the reasons for the consultation, “we find nasopharyngitis, and in the slightly elderly there are few cases of secondary infections with sinusitis and bronchitis,” the doctor explains. As well as the first bronchiolitis that begins in young children. On the calendar side, the arrival of these viruses in the second half of September is “quite normal compared to the years before Covid,” Dr. Ben Susan stresses. This always happens within two to three weeks after the start of the school year, since it is the mixing of schools in particular that causes transmission of viruses and microbes.
A decrease in barrier gestures or a change in the viral ecosystem?
But this comeback also helped us with our bad habits acquired this summer. The increase in vaccine coverage and the feeling of protection from the coronavirus that it provides has made a logical consequence of relaxing social distancing. The French Public Health Authority confirmed in its recent epidemiological bulletins, “Adherence to barrier measures tends to decline, and some of them are less followed up among the vaccinated, and this is since the end of June.” “There has been a bit of relaxation in adults, Dr. Ben Susan acknowledges. But that is normal after all these months of restrictions; people want to get together again and have meals together. Hence the importance of remembering that even among vaccinated people, it can be There is transmission of viruses and other microbes through hands, saliva, and positions.
And for younger children, “Even if mask-wearing is in effect in schools, at break and lunch, children and teens can relax on barrier gestures, there are hugs and hugs, the doctor explains. But we expected this: last year, all traditional epidemics were banned by Closures and school closures. Returning to a life similar to the one before inevitably means the return of viruses that are usually rampant at this time of year.”
Does the return of these winter diseases mean that Covid-19 is receding enough to make room for them? “We’ll have to wait the next few weeks to answer that question,” says Dr. Ben Susan. If we have a strong epidemic of influenza and other viruses and microbes, we can talk about a change in the viral ecosystem. But it’s too early to tell.
Lack of immune stimulation and rMajor outbreak of bronchiolitis
Another virus that nearly died out last winter: bronchiolitis, which affects young children. The scale of the epidemic [l’hiver dernier] It was significantly lower than the previous season, French public health confirms. An epidemic larger than that observed each year is possible due to reduced immune stimulation caused by poor circulation of the virus last winter, in the context of lifting barrier measures. This phenomenon was observed in Australia, which in the fall reported an outbreak of a very severe epidemic.
“Last year, a whole group of children did not come into contact with RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), which is the main cause of bronchiolitis. This year, the virus will find itself in a much more favorable place. But this must be kept in mind, because bronchiolitis affects many infants and young children, who were not all born last year at the same time,” reassures the doctor.
So, in order not to make too much room for these ailments that we haven’t really missed, “we have to go back to everything we’ve done well in the past year, and beyond the single coronavirus, described by Dr. Ben Susan. We think about washing our hands, putting on a mask once we’re sick and coughing.” And we maintain the reaction in not shaking hands or kissing.”