Epidemiological characteristics of respiratory infections during the last autumn-winter season of the COVID-19 pandemic according to data from a repurposed children’s hospital

DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.18565/pharmateca.2024.1.10-18

Zaytseva O.V., Tolstova E.M., Zaitseva N.S., Lokshina E.E., Abaseeva T.Yu., Bagirova N.I., Bardenikova S.I., Besedina M.V., Bogdanova N.A., Kuznetsov G.B., Mstislavskaya S.A., Ostroukhova I.P., Rychkova T.I., Serebrovskaya N.B., Striga E.V., Shavlokhova L.A., Shiro- nina N.V., Nikonova M.A., Kuzina S.R., Efimova E.V., Belyaeva T.Yu.

1) Russian University of Medicine, Moscow, Russia; 2) St. Vladimir Children’s City Clinical Hospital, Moscow, Russia
Background. During the end of the coronavirus pandemic, an increase in the frequency of acute respiratory viral infections (ARVI)-related hospitalizations of children and changes in the seasonality parameters of certain nosological forms were observed throughout the world.
Objective. Presentation of the epidemiological characteristics of ARVI in children hospitalized in a repurposed children’s hospital in the autumn-winter season of 2022–2023.
Methods. All children hospitalized with signs of acute respiratory tract infections during the repurposing of departments of the St. Vladimir Children’s City Clinical Hospital were subjected to rapid tests for COVID-19, influenza types A and B, and nasal and oropharyngeal swabs were taken for real-time polymerase chain reaction for SARS-CoV-2 and the spectrum of ARVI pathogens. When indicated, as part of differential diagnosis, detection of DNA of Human herpes virus 6, Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) and Bordetella pertussis, and bacteriological studies were performed. The survey results were assessed retrospectively.
Results. During the conversion period, 2,105 patients were hospitalized. COVID-19 was diagnosed in 32 (1.5%). The diagnosis of influenza was established in 603 (28.6%) children. Respiratory syncytial virus infection (RSVI) was confirmed in 139 (6.6%) cases. Rhinovirus RNA was detected in 54 (2.6%) children. The detection rate of other identifiable respiratory viruses did not exceed 1.5%. 48.4% of disease cases remained etiologically undeciphered.
Conclusion. Influenza virus and respiratory syncytial virus were the most common pathogens detected in the study group of hospitalized patients. The data confirmed an earlier rise and an earlier winter peak for influenza in the 2022-2023 season, as well as a longer period of influenza prevalence. The traditional spring peak of RSVI incidence has also been shifted to the autumn-winter period. The mass of children sick with ARVI in the last pandemic autumn-winter season was associated with an increase in the number of hospitalization. The epidemiological characteristics of the last pandemic season are explained by the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, which had an impact on interviral interactions and the state of immunity of children with increased susceptibility to respiratory viruses after a long period of quarantine measures.

About the Autors

Corresponding author: Evgenia M. Tolstova, Cand. Sci. (Med.), Associate Professor at the Department of Pediatrics, Russian University of Medicine, Moscow, Russia; tepec@yandex.ru

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