In the first half of the year, there was an “unusual” increase in viral respiratory illnesses in childhood, according to a study conducted with patients from the city of Buenos Aires, the north and south of Buenos Aires and the city of San Justo, which was due to the “high circulation of several viruses at the same time and the lack of antibodies in boys and girls to these agents due to isolation due to the pandemic,” according to the specialists.
The work carried out by the Italian hospital specified that from January 1 to June 30, 94.3% of 456 samples analyzed for respiratory card techniques from 406 patients under the age of 18 were positive for some virus.
The patients included in the study belong to Hospital Italiano, headquarters of the city of Buenos Aires and San Justo.
“The most frequently isolated virus was rhinovirus, in 44.1%,” said the study, available from Télam.
This agent is the main cause of the common cold.whose symptoms include pharyngitis, rhinitis, nasal congestion, sneezing and coughing, sometimes accompanied by myalgia, fatigue, malaise, headache, muscle weakness or loss of appetite.
It is followed in number of cases by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) with 17.97%, the most common microbe that causes lung and respiratory tract infections in infants and young children, and metapneumovirus with 18% and 16.5% , respectively.
The study, called “Surveillance of respiratory viruses and evaluation of the utility of a method of rapid syndromic diagnosis (FilmArray Respiratory Panel) in pediatric hospitalized patients at 2 level 3 hospitals”, was conducted with samples of patients living in the city of Buenos Aires, South Zone , north and San Justo.
“This is a rate of positivity in respiratory viral pictures that we have never had before because it is usually much lower, in 60 or 70%,” the head of the pediatric infectious diseases department of the Italian Hospital and a member of the infection committee said before Télam. by SADI, Analía de Cristofano.
The doctor assured that these data are consistent with those reported by specialists from the pediatric hospitals Garrahan, Gutiérrez and Pedro de Elizalde, who stated that there was a clear increase in viral respiratory cases in patients from these centers, with the same amount of virus simultaneously , and in the same period indicated in the study, through a meeting held weeks ago between professionals from these institutions.
Regarding the reasons for this high rate of viral respiratory diseases in childhood, Cristofano pointed out that “it’s not about low defenses in childhood after two and a half years of the coronavirus, the concept is different.”
“Children have not generated specific antibodies against these agents because they have not been exposed for a long time to the wide variety of viruses that circulate every year because they do not have a private school; we’re talking about viral conditions that cause coughs, colds, stomach aches, diarrhea,” he explained.
At the same time, he warned that “there are many more viruses circulating at the same time, which is not usual.”
What usually happens, the specialist pointed out, is that there are cycles, some months there is respiratory syncytial virus, other months flu or rhinovirus.
Another issue that contributed to the increase in concurrent pediatric viral conditions is that “4- or 5-year-olds who might have been exposed to these microorganisms at age 3 when they started kindergarten were not, and this contributes to the more exposed pediatric population at one time.”
The mean age of the study patients was 2.52 years, 54% were male, and the mean hospital stay was 4 days.
“Only 5% of the results were positive for SARS-Cov-2, in contrast to the previous two years in which it was the predominant virus and only 4% of influenza A was recovered,” the study stated.
Analyzing the patient history, 46.5% had an underlying disease, 9.85% cardiovascular, 7.64% chronic respiratory, 7% hemato-oncology, 5.2% solid organ transplant, and 4% liver disease.
67.8% had a history of previous episodes and 72% of patients required supplemental oxygen, while 25% required intensive care.
In turn, 74% of the episodes presented as acute lower respiratory infections (ALRI), while 22% showed catarrh of the upper respiratory tract (CVAS).