Children Suffering Combination Viruses With to Weakened Immune System Due to Lockdown

Yale infection-control experts say this is not typical.

QUICK FACTS:
  • Children are being seen at clinics suffering from multiple issues at the same time due to weakened immune systems.
  • Kids are being seen for as many as three of the seven most common viruses, including adenovirus, rhinovirus, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), human metapneumovirus, influenza, parainfluenza, and COVID-19, simultaneously.
  • Experts said this is not typical, and even viruses not typically life-threatening, like rhinovirus (which causes the common cold) is causing havoc and sending children for medical treatment.
  • While the experts didn’t call out lockdown procedures by name, epidemiologists note that the lack of exposure to viruses in recent years has likely made kids more vulnerable.
  • Physicians have adjusted their protocols to reflect changes in the cycles of illnesses to accommodate this new pattern of infection.
EXPERTS TAKE ON THE CHANGE IN KIDS’ HEALTH:
  • “That’s not typical for any time of year and certainly not typical in May and June,” said Thomas Murray, an infection-control expert and associate professor of pediatrics at Yale, said of the coexisting infections.
  • “It’s a massive natural experiment,” said Michael Mina, an epidemiologist and chief science officer at the digital health platform eMed. The science officer said the shift in seasonality can be explained largely by our lack of recent exposure to common viruses.
  • “You would see a child with a febrile illness, and think, ‘What time of the year is it?’” said Peter Hotez, a molecular virologist and dean for the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, commenting on the change in children’s illness patterns.
BACKGROUND:
  • In April of this year, the global surge in hepatitis cases in children was blamed on lockdown protocols keeping children away from common immune-building activities.
  • Officials in Britain said the lack of exposure to common infections during “formative” years has left children more vulnerable to the deadly liver disease.