CDC admits lockdowns, mask mandates and school closures may be fueling Strep A outbreak in the US
- CDC said that increases in Strep A, flu and RSV cases are tied to lockdowns
- The agency said the orders led to a decline in cases over the past few years
- Some experts have said the lack of cases led to ‘immune naivety’ in the US
Leading US health officials have finally acknowledged that pandemic restrictions they supported may have fueled a boom in respiratory bugs currently overwhelming hospitals.
Healthcare systems across the country have been pushed to the brink after an unseasonably high number of flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) cases with some pediatric units forced to erect inflatable tents to treat patients in parking lots.
There are signs that both viruses may have already peaked, but last week the country was dealt a further blow when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said it was investigating a rise in severe Strep A infections – a normally harmless bacterial infection that has killed more than a dozen children in the UK and is rising across Europe.
In a statement to DailyMail.com, the CDC said it was ‘hearing from some doctors and state health departments about an apparent increase in iGAS infections among children in parts of the United States, cheapest kamagra de next day and is investigating this increase.’
In a noticeable shift in rhetoric, the agency added: ‘Like many infections during the COVID-19 pandemic, iGAS infections declined substantially.
‘Mitigation measures (e.g., school and workplace closures, masking) used during the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic helped to reduce the spread of many viruses and bacteria.’
This map shows where an uptick in Strep A infections is being reported in the US so far. The children’s hospital in Texas, the largest in the country, says it is seeing four times more child patients with Strep A than at this time last year. The CDC has only confirmed ‘anecdotal reports’ of rising infections in the US
At least two children have died in Colorado after suffering the normally-mild illness, and pediatric hospitals in five states — Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Washington and West Virginia — are reporting much higher levels of admissions than usual.
The CDC does say however that it is not clear if there are more infections this year than in those previous, or if the wave is just striking America earlier than usual.
Immune naivety contributed to the eruption of a ‘tripledemic’ in the US this year, with RSV and the flu both erupting this winter alongside Covid.
Bacterial infections like Strep A often strike after viral illnesses do, as a person’s immune system has been worn down and can not fight off the bacteria as effectively.
Alarms were raised that Strep A infections this year could be more deadly than those previous after a spate of severe cases in the UK caused 19 deaths, an unseasonably high number.
It is generally a mild illness that is most dangerous to the elderly. The CDC say around 14,000 to 25,000 Americans get infected annually and 1,500 to 2,300 die.
At least two children have died from Strep A in Colorado in recent weeks, raising fears the US could suffer a similar pediatric outbreak to what is happening in the UK.
In a further worrying sign, doctors in Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Washington and West Virginia are also reporting an increase in severe Strep A infections this year.
The CDC does not track the infection the same way it does viral illnesses like Covid, the flu and RSV, though, making national infection and death figures unclear.
Strep A symptoms include rashes and sores around the body, flushed cheeks, a sore throat, muscle aches and fever. It is a relatively mild illness that does not cause many pediatric deaths each year
America’s tripledemic has peaked already: Flu cases fall 30% in a week
America’s dreaded ‘tripledemic’ looks set to be short-lived, with weekly flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) figures already on the decline.
Today’s weekly flu report shows there were just over 30,000 confirmed flu infections nationwide during the week ending on December 10.
While this is preliminary data, it is a 30 percent drop from the previous week and the first time cases have fallen since the start of flu season.
Meanwhile, Dr Ashish Jha said at a White House press briefing Thursday that RSV infections had already peaked with numbers starting to come down ‘pretty quickly’.
Fears about a so-called ‘tripledemic’ first emerged over summer when Australia and New Zealand – whose winter is during America’s summer – suffered devastating flu seasons.
Experts have pointed to lockdowns, mask mandates and other pandemic orders over the past two years as reason why this year’s flu season has been more brutal than those past.
Dr Kathryn Moffet, a pediatric infectious disease expert at West Virginia University Medicine, in Morgantown, told DailyMail.com that her hospital was seeing more cases than usual.
Her hospital, the biggest in the state, was seeing more children than usual present Step symptoms in early December than the usual year.
She blamed the abnormal flu patterns in previous years – where viruses like the flu and RSV barely circulated.
‘We disrupted our virus transmission. We did not have the normal [circulation] where you would expect RSV and pneumonia [in young children],’ she told DailyMail.com.
‘A lot of what we did with social distancing and masks [caused this].’
At Texas Children’s Hospital, the state’s largest pediatric hospital in Houston, doctors are reporting a four-fold increase in Strep infections this year compared to pre-Covid levels.
Doctors at Phoenix Children’s Hospital reported an uptick in cases to NBC last week.
At Children’s Hospital Colorado, officials reported that more children aged 10 months to six years old were being hospitalized than usual for Strep A complications.
The situation is being exacerbated by a shortage of amoxicillin currently striking the country.
The antibiotic is often used by young children sick with illnesses like the flu and RSV to prevent bacterial infections from emerging soon after.
Supply chain issues and a surge in demand caused by an unusually brutal flu season have left the drug in short supply across the US.
There is hope that America’s brutal flu season, dubbed the worst since the 2009 Swine Flu Pandemic, by some experts, could soon wind down.
The CDC reported 31,287 confirmed flu infections during the week ending on December 10 – a 30 percent drop from the previous week.
Cases of RSV continued their sharp decline too, with the 4,391 cases logged being a 63 percent drop from the previous week – and the lowest total since late-September.
Covid is starting to rise once again as the annual nuisances fall. The US recorded 65,550 daily infections last week, a 26 percent jump over the past two weeks.
Deaths have also increased 63 percent over the past two weeks to 408 per day.
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