Kansas well being professionals are monitoring the trifecta of COVID-19, the widespread chilly and RSV as the vacation season approaches

TOPEKA — Docs and public well being researchers predict a surge in COVID-19 infections in the course of the vacation months will additional complicate the medical response to the flu and flu virus.

The trifecta of COVID-19, influenza, and respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, may improve well being issues and hospitalizations this winter as preventive measures akin to vaccinations, masks, and isolation are decreased in 2022. Throughout the winter of 2021-2022, Kansas skilled a rise within the Delta and Omicron variants of COVID-19.

“We’re simply crossing our fingers,” mentioned Dana Hawkinson, director of an infection management on the College of Kansas Well being System.

Hawkinson mentioned there’s a two- to four-week lag between contracting COVID-19 and being hospitalized, and urged Kansans to get vaccinated to guard themselves from essentially the most harmful elements of the virus.

For the reason that outbreak of COVID-19 in Kansas in March 2020, the state has reported almost 900,000 circumstances. The precise quantity is believed to be greater as a result of testing for the virus has stopped. Greater than 10,000 circumstances of COVID-19 have been reported in 18 Kansas counties, with 171,000 in Johnson County and 164,000 in Sedgwick County, greater than a 3rd of the state’s whole.

The newest report from the Kansas Division of Well being and Atmosphere exhibits that 9,657 deaths in Kansas in the course of the pandemic have been linked to COVID-19. In Kansas, 2,613 individuals died in 2022.

Dana Hawkinson, MD, of the College of Kansas Well being System, mentioned the flu season, mixed with extreme circumstances of COVID-19 and influenza, could make it tough for hospitals to deal with the rise in sufferers. (Kansas Reflector screenshot from KU Well being System’s Fb web page)

Danger of re-infection

Nathan Bahr, an affiliate professor of infectious illnesses on the Kansas Medical Heart, mentioned there’s trigger for concern after analysis exhibits that individuals who have been contaminated a number of instances by COVID-19 are extra vulnerable to the erosion of organ operate. He in contrast it to an individual who repeatedly injured his leg and eventually broke it.

“The extra typically this occurs, the larger the danger of dropping operate,” he mentioned.

A Washington College in St. Louis evaluation of the medical information of 5.4 million Veterans Administration sufferers discovered that individuals who had multiple bout of COVID-19 have been twice as prone to have a coronary heart assault as those that by no means contracted the virus. As well as, the researchers reported that the danger of kidney, lung and gastrointestinal well being was greater amongst those that had a number of infections.

Amber Schmidtke, chair of the science and arithmetic division at St. Mary’s College in Leavenworth, mentioned the U.S. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention ranked Kansas second in 5 classes for flu circumstances that didn’t require hospitalization. The flu-like signs that the CDC examined for have been fever, cough, and sore throat.

The CDC has launched a color-coded map that locations Kansas at a “excessive” degree and Missouri at a “average” flu degree. Flu-like signs have been highest in South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee and Virginia.

“The depth is so excessive this yr, particularly within the South, that the CDC had so as to add a brand new shade to the very excessive class,” Schmidtke mentioned within the KU Well being System broadcast.

He suggested individuals to get the flu shot and the COVID-19 vaccine. Nevertheless, there isn’t a vaccine accessible for RSV in the US.

Amber Schmidtke, chair of the department of natural sciences at St. Mary's University in Leavenworth, said the CDC has seen more flu-like symptoms among non-hospitalized people in Kansas, while Missouri has seen mild fever, cough and sore throat.  (Kansas Reflector screenshot from KU Health System's Facebook page)
In keeping with Amber Schmidtke of St. Mary’s College in Leavenworth, Kansas has had a excessive price of flu-like signs amongst individuals who haven’t been hospitalized, whereas Missouri has had a average price, in line with the CDC. (Kansas Reflector screenshot from KU Well being System’s Fb web page)

Sewer drains

Mark Johnson, a professor of microbiology on the College of Missouri and a researcher in Missouri’s wastewater program to watch the transmission traits of Covid-19, mentioned the flexibility to detect rising strains of the virus has improved over the previous two years. The vacation season is a main time for viruses to unfold and thrive amongst individuals in confined areas, he mentioned.

“Final yr and the yr earlier than that, proper now, we began taking a look at our lineage. We’re beginning to see the numbers go up,” Johnson mentioned.

Delta’s development and the emergence of Omicron have led to a “powerful winter,” he mentioned.

“Luckily,” Johnson mentioned, “we’re getting loads of new releases, and none of them are doing what Delta has executed or what Omicron has executed. For Delta, it has been nice as a result of we’re seeing it roll out throughout the state. was.”

In response to a query about whether or not the heavy rains led to deceptive conclusions concerning the presence of COVID-19 within the sewage samples, Johnson mentioned the answer is to check for the presence of caffeine. The numbers could be in contrast with the espresso part being fixed, he mentioned.

Chung-Ho Lin, his analysis accomplice on the College of Missouri’s Faculty of Agriculture who’s concerned in Covid-19 testing, mentioned wastewater is a crucial useful resource to evaluate public well being.

“Effluent by no means lies,” Lin mentioned. “Give us 15 milliliters of water and we’ll inform you loads of tales.”

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