The triple epidemic that marked the end of 2022 seems to be coming to an end. The ebb began with the ninth wave of Covid-19, which gradually gave way to influenza during the month of December. After reaching unusually high levels, the rate of hospitalizations for influenza-like illness continued to decline sharply between January 9 and 15, falling from 22 to 9 hospitalizations per month. 1,000 inhabitants in one week. All metropolitan regions remained in epidemic phase after all, according to the epidemiological bulletin published by Public Health France (SPF) on 18 January. “Influenza often has a fairly unpredictable profile, so we remain alert to the possibility of a resurgence, but we currently have very few positive samples”nuance Romain Hernu, head of emergency situations at the Croix-Rousse hospital, in Lyon.
At the same time, the huge wave of bronchiolitis cases – mainly caused in infants by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), but also by rhinovirus – has fallen back to low levels after the peak in early December 2022, the highest in the last ten years. The epidemic is officially over in Ile-de-France, while six metropolitan regions have moved into the post-epidemic phase, according to the latest data from the SPF.
Thanks to the immunity acquired by the population, the health impact of the Covid-19 wave carried by the BQ.1.1 subvariant remained relatively moderate compared to the previous ones. But hospitals had to deal with the collateral effects of two years of barrier movement: a higher-than-usual number of people who hadn’t had viral infections in a long time, and therefore more likely to catch the usual cohort of viruses.
“While we expected influenza and RSV to re-emerge, we did not expect that the resurgence of winter viral infections would also promote invasive bacterial superinfections.”, adds Anne-Claude Crémieux, professor of infectious diseases at Saint-Louis hospital in Paris. In this regard, the increase in severe cases of streptococcal A infections should serve as a warning. As to whether a previous infection with Covid-19 could have favored infection with another respiratory virus, we have to await the results of cohort studies carried out in England in particular. In fact, very few cases of influenza/covid-19 co-infection have been recorded: only sixteen in France during the winter.
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