nytimes – Why everyone has the worst summer cold ever

Sue Huang, director of the World Health Organization’s National Influenza Center at the New Zealand Institute of Environmental Science and Research, said the country’s tight restrictions not only stopped the Covid-19 , but had also eliminated RSV and the flu, Dr. Huang concluded. and colleagues published in the journal Nature in February.

But as the country opened its borders with Australia, RSV cases rose in weeks, with the virus attacking a larger-than-usual group of susceptible children, many of whom were admitted to hospitals. .

“I haven’t seen anything like it in 20 years of working as a virologist,” said Dr Huang. “There is usually some degree of pre-existing immunity due to the previous winter. When you don’t have that kind of protection, it’s like wildfire. The fire can continue and the chain of transmission continues. “

While doctors can test young children to confirm a case of RSV, and many people who show symptoms of the common cold will be tested to rule out Covid-19, most people are unlikely to know the specific respiratory virus causing it. of their symptoms, said Dr. Kathyrn M. Edwards, professor of pediatrics at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

“We will meet again and share our viruses, and I think we may all be a little more susceptible to viruses that we haven’t seen,” Dr Edwards said. “Knowing exactly what each person has is hard to say. In adults, the symptoms are mostly the same, and you can’t tell if it’s RSV, rhinovirus, parainfluenza, or some other cold virus.

Satya Dandekar, an expert in viral infections and mucosal immunology, said that while isolation measures do not weaken our immune system, other factors including stress, poor sleep habits and increased alcohol consumption, may play a role in the response of an individual immune system to a respiratory virus.

“There is going to be an extremely variable response in the community as to who is going to respond well and treat infections and who will get sick,” said Dr. Dandekar, chair of the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology at the University of California. . – Davis School of Medicine. “When a person is exposed to a pathogen, there must be a rapid acceleration of the response of the immune system and immune cells. With stress and other factors, the immune cell army is somewhat hampered and slows down and may not be able to react quickly enough to attack, leaving enough time for the pathogen to take hold of it. ‘host.

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