The Covid-19 epidemic and the health measures taken to limit its spread have had an impact on the scale of other epidemics of respiratory infections. In the context of improving the health situation and easing restrictions, the Scientific Council is now concerned about the possible return of seasonal viruses.
The Covid-19 pandemic is not the only one that the Scientific Council is closely monitoring. In the latest opinion issued by the organization and published on Thursday, October 7, it called on its members to be vigilant in the face of other respiratory viruses.
“During the spread of SARS-CoV-2, a very significant decrease in the circulation of the two viruses responsible for seasonal epidemics was observed: influenza and RSV (respiratory syncytial virus),” notes the Scientific Council.
A hypothetical absence that can be explained by implementing barrier measures (social distancing, wearing a mask, hydro-alcoholic gel) to combat the Covid-19 epidemic “but it can also be amplified by a mechanism called viral interference”, in other words the difficulty of transmitting two respiratory viruses at the same time.
Influenza epidemic begins ‘from October or November’
Now that the Covid-19 epidemic is under control, especially thanks to vaccination, scientists are warning of other respiratory infections that occur during the fall and winter seasons. With regard to influenza, the council considers that “epidemiological and vaccination aspects” must be taken into account when more than 10 million people were vaccinated against influenza last year.
“It is possible that this pandemic will start as early as October or November, especially if the barrier measures are quickly eased and international trade resumes,” warns the Scientific Council, which believes that the impact of the epidemic will depend on the nature of the virus (H3N2 or H1N1). “The current signal showing a specific turnover of A (H3N2) virus could be considered a dangerous signal,” continues the Scientific Council, which concluded that “the hypothesis of a pandemic outbreak in 2021-2022 should be considered.”
There is no doubt that the RSV epidemic is bigger this year
With regard to respiratory syncytial virus, the Scientific Council notes that the 2020-2021 epidemic was smaller than the outbreak of the previous season “with a late start”.
The council adds: “It is therefore necessary to expect that the size of the RSV epidemic will be greater this winter compared to previous winters, especially if it is postponed to January or February 2022,” noting that there is no vaccine or RSV treatment, “Therefore, communication about measures A barrier during an RSV epidemic would be beneficial.”