Now 2 of the most dangerous virus waves are overtaking us

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Half of Austria is on sick leave, hospitals are complete, and pediatricians are not picking up. Two experts reveal why.

Austria is in an emergency: sick leave is increasing, and schools and kindergartens are partly empty. This time, however, it is not a Corona wave to blame, but two other dangerous viruses, coupled with a few other pathogens.

“We are seeing a sharp increase in influenza infections week after week,” explains virologist Lukas Weseslindtner from MedUni Vienna’s Center for Virology. The interview was published in Austria’s daily newspaper “Heute.” In fact, according to AGES estimates, there are currently over 360,000 cases of influenza in Austria. Usually, however, the influenza wave only hits Austria after Christmas and not at the same time as another dangerous virus.

“In parallel, we also have a significant increase in RSV.” He said a virus that leads to very severe infections, especially in children up to the age of one. “If cells are infected, they clump together, and those agglomerates clog the airways. If they’re still skinny, they can have life-threatening respiratory distress and lack oxygen supply. Typically, you can’t then treat that at home.”

In adults, he said that respiratory syncytial virus usually leads only to bronchitis and cough because of the broader airways.

At the same time, all other viruses are also on the way, the expert said. “Seasonal coronaviruses, some Sars-Cov-2 activity there, adenoviruses and rhinoviruses, the classic agents of the common cold. We have everything at this point.”

General practitioner Edgar Wutscher can confirm this: “We have an insane number of patients right now. Ten of eight come to the doctor’s office with sore throats and coughs. The whole thing is garnished by the RS virus among the children and interspersed there are a few Corona cases”, explains the Federal Curia Chairman of the practicing doctors of the ÖÄK to “Heute.”

But most cases are currently not respiratory infections – also known incorrectly as flu-like infections in the vernacular – but influenza and RSV cases. “Those are also the most dangerous,” Weseslindtner said. After all, not only is a respiratory syncytial virus – for which there is still no vaccine – life-threatening for vulnerable groups, but influenza is a vastly underestimated, infectious severe disease “that can have a lot of negative consequences.” Among them, as a result of influenza, a heart attack (myocardial infarction), as studies show.

Only vaccination offers protection against this, the virologist emphasizes. “Even if the wave is already here, it’s never too late for vaccination.”

Just how many viruses are circulating is also shown by a case brought to the attention of virologist Judith Aberle from MedUni Vienna: a toddler contracted five different viruses simultaneously. “Today, for the first time, saw the findings of a toddler with PCR-confirmed “quintuple” infection: Enteroviruses, SARS-CoV-2, Influenza A, RSV and Adenoviruses,” she wrote on Twitter.

  • source: heute.at/picture: pixabay.com
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