The flu virus normally disappears during the warmer months (see red line, as of 2019).  In 2019, infections peaked in the 10th week of the year, in March.  But this year (blue line) it has remained constant and has not gone away, to the dismay of scientists

Children are showing up at doctors’ clinics infected with up to three different types of virus, which experts believe is the result of their immune systems weakening after two years of COVID lockdown and mask-wearing.

Medical staff expect an upsurge in flu cases and severe colds during the winter.

But they report there isn’t the usual slowdown as summer approaches – and they suspect that could be due to strict pandemic practices.

What’s more, some of the common flu strains seem to have disappeared, baffling scientists.

Thomas Murray, an infection control expert and associate professor of pediatrics at Yale, told the Washington Post on Monday his team was seeing children with combinations of seven common viruses — adenovirus, rhinovirus, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), human metapneumovirus, influenza and parainfluenza, as well as the coronavirus.

Some children were admitted with two viruses and a few with three, he said.

“It’s not typical at any time of the year and certainly not typical in May and June,” he said.

CDC data obtained by DailyMail.com showed lower overall levels of flu infections in young children – but an abnormal surge starting several weeks ago in the early summer months, normally a dead period for respiratory infections .

The flu virus normally disappears during the warmer months (see red line, as of 2019). In 2019, infections peaked in the 10th week of the year, in March. But this year (blue line) it has remained constant and has not gone away, to the dismay of scientists

Children aged 0-4 are seeing an increase in viral infections, which experts say could be due to them not being exposed to the usual viral load – thanks to pandemic precautions

Other strange patterns have emerged.

The rhinovirus, known as the common cold, isn’t normally serious enough to send people to hospital – but now it is.

Michael Mina, epidemiologist and scientific director of digital health platform eMed, described the current situation as a “massive natural experiment”

Michael Mina, epidemiologist and scientific director of digital health platform eMed, described the current situation as a “massive natural experiment”

RSV normally subsides in hot weather, much like the flu, but it doesn’t.

And the Yamagata flu strain hasn’t been seen since early 2020 – which researchers say could be because it’s extinct, or maybe just dormant and waiting for the right time to return. .

“It’s a massive natural experiment,” Michael Mina, epidemiologist and chief scientific officer of digital health platform eMed, told The Post.

Mina added that the change in the time of year that Americans see infections is likely due to the population’s lack of exposure to once-common viruses, making us vulnerable to their return.

“When you have a lot of people who don’t have immunity, the impact of the season is less. It’s like an open field,” he said.

The virus can therefore “overcome seasonal barriers”.

Peter Hotez, a molecular virologist and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, agreed that standards are changing and seasonal patterns no longer apply.

‘You would see a child with a feverish illness and think, ‘What time of year is it?’ ‘ he said.

An RSV virus is seen under a powerful microscope.  The virus is normally detected only in winter, in children

An RSV virus is seen under a powerful microscope. The virus is normally detected only in winter, in children

This computer-simulated model, developed by researchers at Purdue University, shows that receptors for the common cold virus, rhinovirus 16, attach to the outer protein coat of the virus

This computer-simulated model, developed by researchers at Purdue University, shows that receptors for the common cold virus, rhinovirus 16, attach to the outer protein coat of the virus

The changes are also forcing hospitals to rethink their approach to RSV – a common virus that hospitalizes around 60,000 children under the age of five each year. It can create fatal lung infections in particularly vulnerable young people.

Treatment relies on monthly doses of a monoclonal antibody, which is normally only available from November to February.

Now worried scientists are watching the virus closely, in case they suddenly need to get the drug.

Ellen Foxman, an immunobiologist at Yale School of Medicine whose research explores why viruses can make one person very sick but another relatively unscathed, said babies born during the pandemic are likely to be of great interest to scientists.

“These children did not have an infection at a crucial time in lung development,” she said.

Foxman added that a lot has been learned, by the general public as well as scientists, about viruses and how to prevent infection in recent years.

“We need to build on some of the lessons we’ve learned,” she said.

By cardgo

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