The Jerusalem Post

Corona over, but viral infections surging


The corona crisis might be over, but all over Israel adults and children are getting sick with viral infections in a phenomenon that is unpreceden­ted for this time of the year, according to several medical profession­als.

“We have never seen anything like this,” said Dr. Tal Brosh, head of Infectious Disease Unit at the Samson Assuta Ashdod Hospital. “We’ve been monitoring viral infections in the hospital, which of course is just the tip of the iceberg of what is going on in the community, as for each hospitaliz­ed patient, there are many more out there. Since the spring, we have been seeing an increasing number of respirator­y diseases, and since May there has been a surge in RSV cases.”

RSV, or respirator­y syncytial virus, usually appears in the winter together with the influenza, and is especially serious for very young children and older, vulnerable adults.

“We usually see it disappeari­ng in the summer, but if we consider the numbers now, it looks like winter in previous years,” said Brosh. “During the winter 20202021, we did not see one individual case of RSV.”

RSV is not the only virus that is widely circulatin­g – other diseases that are currently infecting a growing number of people are a type of adenovirus, the human metapneumo­virus (HMPV), and the rhinovirus. All of them are associated with respirator­y symptoms and other symptoms similar to those of a severe cold. At the same time, influenza has not hit

the country since the winter previous to the pandemic.

“However, we are not checking the type of virus in all cases,” said Dr. Tal Snir, director of the Adolescent

Clinic at Tel Aviv’s Sourasky Medical Center (Dana-Dwek Children’s Hospital).

Snir noted that after the year of the pandemic, it is not surprising that these diseases are reappearin­g.

“We did not see them during the winter because we were wearing masks and because of the lockdowns, but they are normal viruses,” she said.

While no formal study appears to have been published on the topic, Brosh said that a similar phenomenon was reported in Australia a few months ago, when the country hit its summer after the first winter plagued by corona.

The number of children hospitaliz­ed with respirator­y and gastrointe­stinal diseases has been exceptiona­l also at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, said Dr. Giora Weiser, director of the Department of Pediatric Emergency Medicine.

“Children are going back to school, seeing friends and having a normal life again, and these viruses are taking their revenge,” said Weiser.

While there is no particular reason to be concerned, Weiser said that it has not been easy for the staff because of the work overload.

 ??  ?? A TEENAGER RECEIVES a coronaviru­s vaccine in Tel Aviv. (Avshalom Shoshani)
A TEENAGER RECEIVES a coronaviru­s vaccine in Tel Aviv. (Avshalom Shoshani)

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