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Article

The Disappearance of Respiratory Viruses in Children during the COVID-19 Pandemic

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General Pediatrics Unit, Pediatric Emergency and General Pediatrics Department, Bambino Gesù Children’s Hospital, IRCCS, 00165 Rome, Italy
2
Unit of Microbiology and Diagnostic Immunology, Department of Diagnostic and Laboratory Medicine, Bambino Gesù Children’s Hospital, IRCCS, 00165 Rome, Italy
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Department of Maternal Infantile and Urological Sciences, Sapienza University of Rome, 00161 Rome, Italy
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Clinical Immunology and Vaccinology Unit, Academic Department of Pediatrics, Bambino Gesù Children’s Hospital, IRCCS, 00165 Rome, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(18), 9550; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18189550
Received: 11 August 2021 / Revised: 3 September 2021 / Accepted: 7 September 2021 / Published: 10 September 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Children and Adolescents: Preventable Infectious Diseases)
Background: Social distancing measures are used to reduce the spreading of COVID-19. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of local restrictions on the transmission of respiratory virus infections. Methods: we retrospectively analyzed the nasopharyngeal samples of all patients (0–18 years old) admitted with respiratory symptoms in a large Italian tertiary hospital during the last three seasons from 2018 to 2021. Results: A strong reduction in all viral respiratory infections was observed in the last season (2020–2021) compared to the two previous seasons (−79.69% and −80.66%, respectively). In particular, we found that during the epidemic period 2018–2019 and 2019–2020, the total number of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) cases was, respectively 726 and 689, while in the last season a total of five cases was detected. In the first months of 2018–2019 and 2019–2020, the total flu infections were 240 and 354, respectively, while in the last season we did not detect any influenza virus. As other viruses, the presence of Rhinovirus declined, but to a lesser extent: a total of 488 cases were assessed compared to the 1030 and 1165 cases of the two previous respective epidemic seasons. Conclusions: Public health interventions and distancing (including continuous use of face masks) settled to counter the pandemic spread of COVID-19 had a macroscopic impact on all respiratory virus transmission and related diseases, with a partial exception of Rhinovirus. The absence of viruses’ circulation could result in a lack of immunity and increased susceptibility to serious infections in the next seasons. View Full-Text
Keywords: social distancing; COVID-19; viral infections; pandemic; respiratory viruses; childhood social distancing; COVID-19; viral infections; pandemic; respiratory viruses; childhood
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MDPI and ACS Style

Vittucci, A.C.; Piccioni, L.; Coltella, L.; Ciarlitto, C.; Antilici, L.; Bozzola, E.; Midulla, F.; Palma, P.; Perno, C.F.; Villani, A. The Disappearance of Respiratory Viruses in Children during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 9550. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18189550

AMA Style

Vittucci AC, Piccioni L, Coltella L, Ciarlitto C, Antilici L, Bozzola E, Midulla F, Palma P, Perno CF, Villani A. The Disappearance of Respiratory Viruses in Children during the COVID-19 Pandemic. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(18):9550. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18189550

Chicago/Turabian Style

Vittucci, Anna C., Livia Piccioni, Luana Coltella, Claudia Ciarlitto, Livia Antilici, Elena Bozzola, Fabio Midulla, Paolo Palma, Carlo F. Perno, and Alberto Villani. 2021. "The Disappearance of Respiratory Viruses in Children during the COVID-19 Pandemic" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, no. 18: 9550. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18189550

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