A co-worker who constantly sneezes, a child infected with chickenpox, a friend with tonsillitis, fall viruses are everywhere. The change of seasons – and the sudden drop in temperatures – favors the return of these seasonal diseases every year. If, last year, thanks to containment and barrier gestures, these epidemics were particularly rare, they seem to be making a comeback this year.
“On a daily basis, we notice an upsurge of these viruses in the general population. Respiratory viruses (colds, sinusitis, tonsillitis, etc.) or chickenpox are frequent reasons for consultation. For the moment, these levels have not yet returned to those before the Covid-19 epidemic “, details Dr. Guillaume Darmaillacq, general practitioner and deputy secretary general of the Generalists-CSMF union.
“The surveillance of cases of acute respiratory infection (ARI) aims to monitor epidemics of Covid-19, influenza, as well as those caused by other seasonal respiratory viruses (RSV, rhinovirus and metapneumovirus)”, notes the Sentinels network in its surveillance bulletin. Before completing: “Last week (2021week 38), the incidence rate of cases of acute respiratory infection (ARI) seen in consultation (or teleconsultation) of general medicine was estimated at 76 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. This rate is increasing compared to week 37 of 2021.
A year 2020 without winter viruses
Last year, epidemics remained with absent subscribers thanks to the strict enforcement of barrier gestures. A trend confirmed by a previous epidemiological bulletin from Public Health France: “From October 5, 2020 to April 18, 2021, no serious cases of influenza were reported. […] During the previous season, 860 serious cases of influenza had been reported. A similar phenomenon had been noted with bronchiolitis, the amplitude of which was “much lower than in previous seasons.” No need to worry: Just because these viruses fell silent last year doesn’t mean they will be more virulent this year.
After a year spent under cover, have the French immune defenses weakened? “Obviously spending several months away from germs resulted in less stimulation of immunity. But I think it did not last long enough to result in a collective decline in immunity, “reassures Dr Darmaillacq. Obviously, with good immunity, it is easier to fight viruses. “For example, the elderly were better able to fight winter infections after the Covid-19 vaccine. “In fact, any vaccine stimulates the entire immune system and therefore helps fight all fall and winter infections.