Possible side effects: Are there more other infections threatened after Corona?

Updated November 22, 2020, 8:38 am

  • The current corona measures not only protect against SARS-CoV-2.
  • They also reduce the spread of other infectious diseases such as the flu.
  • A simulation now shows that people could be more susceptible to other infectious diseases after the corona rules are no longer applicable.

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The current ones Hygiene and distance rules not only lower that Spread of COVID-19but also those of others Infectious diseases such as flu and colds.

After a Simulationsstudie US researchers admonish now, temporarily decreased contact with other pathogens after the corona measures are lifted, could lead to people more prone to such infections would.

Independent German experts emphasize that the work contains lots of speculation and should not be misinterpreted.

Historic low in flu cases

The usual ones in many countries Corona measures such as keeping a distance and wearing masks demonstrably protected COVID-19, writes the team around the epidemiologist Rachel Baker from Princeton University (US state New Jersey) in the “Proceedings” of the US National Academy of Science (“PNAS”).

This also applies to other infectious diseases. “A decline in the number of cases of several respiratory pathogens has recently been observed in many locations around the world.”

Only at the end of October – after the end of winter in the southern hemisphere – had researchers in the journal “The Lancet” of one all-time low in flu reported in Australia and New Zealand. As an explanation for the phenomenon, they also referred to the corona measures such as keeping your distance, Mouth and nose protection and school closings.

The population’s vulnerability may increase later

Baker’s team assumes that such measures and the decreased contact with pathogens later increase the susceptibility of the population to various infections.

Using various models, the researchers simulated how the Elimination of the corona measures could affect two seasonal pathogens: Flu viruses of the type influenza A (IAV) and the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), the Respiratory diseases especially in young children triggers.

According to her estimate, the number of RSV transmissions has decreased in the USA since the introduction of the corona measures by about 20 percent.

On this basis, the authors calculate that even short-term measures will be delayed Increase in RSV infections could lead. In the simulation for the USA and Mexico would therefore in winter 2021/22 most RSV cases arise.

Regarding seasonal outbreaks of Influenza A came the team too similar results. However, the authors themselves admit that forecasts are too Flu waves mainly due to the Diversity of these viruses and the different effectiveness of existing vaccines are problematic.

Are the study’s statements speculative?

This is actually a Weak point of the studyalso says the virologist Gülsah Gabriel from the Heinrich Pette Institute in Hamburg, which was not involved in the study. “Influenza A viruses are changeable and adaptable. This virus evolution is a dynamic processthat cannot be modeled. “

Also the infectiologist Bernd Salzberger from the University Hospital Regensburg objects that such dynamics can hardly be captured in mathematical models: “It could lead to a excessive influenza wave come, but also the opposite will happen, “says the President of the German Society for Infectious Diseases (DGI) Statements of the study are speculative.

Have enough influenza vaccinations ready

“If we were to keep all viruses away from us for three years now, that would be safe problematic for our immune system“, emphasizes Salzberger. However, most people would not wear a mask all the time, but only for a short time – for years Abstinence from pathogens also be therefore unrealistic, because various vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 are already well developed.

The virologist Gabriel especially warns against using the study results as an argument against the corona measures misinterpretation – for example against wearing mouth and nose protection.

This is particularly important at the moment, including that Risk of co-infection to lower. If you were to be infected with influenza viruses and another pathogen, they would fall Combination much more serious out.

In addition, above all should risk groups Get vaccinated against influenza. It is therefore important in the coming winters adequate influenza vaccinations to have ready. (ff / dpa)

Keep your distance, wash your hands, use your mask correctly – hygiene is the best tool in the corona crisis. It can also protect us from cold and flu viruses. Which rules are part of everyday life and which symptoms you should rather stay at home for.


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