Children co-infected with COVID-19 and flu double risk of severe illness

Get vaccinated and practice good personal hygiene

In addition to Corona 19, the number of hospitalized children is increasing as three respiratory diseases, including the flu and RSV, are simultaneously prevalent during the Triple Demic. [사진= 게티이미지뱅크]

A study has been published that found that children under the age of five who get another respiratory disease, such as the flu or respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), double their risk of severe illness along with COVID-19. This is what CNN and ‘Health Day’ reported on the 18th (local time) based on a paper by researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published in Pediatrics.

Even if children get COVID-19, they often get over it lightly, so they are rarely hospitalized with severe symptoms. However, the number of hospitalized children is increasing this winter as a triple demic occurs in which not only Corona 19 but also three respiratory diseases, including flu and RSV, are prevalent at the same time.

The researchers analyzed the medical records of 4372 children admitted to hospitals with COVID-19 in 14 states in the United States between March 2020 and February 2022. More than 60% were tested for other respiratory viruses, and 21% tested positive.

10% of children with co-infections required a ventilator, compared to 6% of children with only COVID-19. The odds of being admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) were also higher at 38%, compared to 27% for children with only COVID-19.

The researchers analyzed age-specific data and found that multiple infections increased the risk of serious illness only among children under the age of five. In particular, it was found that children under the age of 2 are more likely to develop severe symptoms when they simultaneously test positive for both COVID-19 and RSV. This study suggests that the current situation may be more serious in that the data of children hospitalized this winter with a severe triple demic were missing.

William Schaffner, a professor of epidemiology at Vanderbilt University and medical director of the US National Infectious Disease Foundation, said, “More research is needed on the exact effects two or more respiratory viruses can have on the body at the same time, but especially in children under the age of 5, who have two immune systems. I think it has been clearly demonstrated by this study that it is attacked by the virus.” Professor Asuncion Mejias (Pediatric Infectious Diseases) of the National Children’s Hospital (NCH) of the United States said, “Coronavirus is a virus that causes severe inflammation, so the immune system is rapidly weakened. It has to be,” he said.

Professor Schaffner said these new findings are why it’s so important for children to keep up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations in addition to flu shots. “If someone is sick, avoid contact,” Mejias said. He said that respiratory viruses are transmitted not only by saliva and secretions, but also by hands and can survive for more than 30 minutes on hands, so you can get infected if you touch your mouth and then touch your baby. So it is important to wash your hands.”

Other pediatric infectious disease experts advised that it is not too late to get a flu shot even in mid-January, as the flu season usually peaks in February and can last until April or May.

The paper can be found at the following link (https://gpsych.bmj.com/content/36/1/e100893).

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