The Influence of COVID-19 Pandemic on the Epidemiology of Other Human Viral Infections

A special issue of Viruses (ISSN 1999-4915). This special issue belongs to the section "Human Virology and Viral Diseases".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 January 2025 | Viewed by 3108

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Family Medicine, Wroclaw Medical University, 51-141 Wroclaw, Poland
Interests: vaccines; COVID-19; influezna; epidemiology; viral diseases; primary care; travel medicine
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The COVID-19 pandemic has rearranged the functioning of healthcare systems, including access to diagnostics, and has also been tackled with multi-layered public health measures such as social distancing and travel restrictions. Both of these could significantly impact the epidemiological patterns of various viral diseases, resulting in decreased transmission but also underdiagnosis. Further, the circulation of SARS-CoV-2 could reshape the seasonality of other respiratory viruses. This calls for in-depth studies exploring true factors through which the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 could impact other viral infections, including respiratory (e.g., influenza, and RSV), hepatic (e.g., hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E viruses), gastrointestinal (e.g., rotavirus and norovirus), arthropod-borne (e.g., dengue and Zika viruses), and sexually transmitted (e.g., HIV and HPV) ones. Such research is also pivotal to understanding future epidemiological trajectories and introducing appropriate mitigation measures.

With this in mind, we cordially invite you to contribute to our Special Issue. We are inviting submissions of original research articles, reviews, letters, and commentaries from academia, research institutes, not-for-profit organizations, or industries working on identifying all viral diseases and better understanding their epidemiology.

Dr. Mateusz Babicki
Dr. Piotr Rzymski
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • respiratory viral infections
  • arboviruses
  • hepatitis
  • HIV/AIDS
  • HPV
  • dengue
  • viral gastroenteritis
  • public health
  • epidemiology

Published Papers (4 papers)

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28 pages, 6709 KiB  
Article
Epidemiological and Genetic Characteristics of Respiratory Viral Coinfections with Different Variants of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)
by Ivelina Trifonova, Neli Korsun, Iveta Madzharova, Ivailo Alexiev, Ivan Ivanov, Viktoria Levterova, Lyubomira Grigorova, Ivan Stoikov, Dean Donchev and Iva Christova
Viruses 2024, 16(6), 958; https://doi.org/10.3390/v16060958 (registering DOI) - 13 Jun 2024
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Abstract
This study aimed to determine the incidence and etiological, seasonal, and genetic characteristics of respiratory viral coinfections involving severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Between October 2020 and January 2024, nasopharyngeal samples were collected from 2277 SARS-CoV-2-positive patients. Two multiplex approaches were [...] Read more.
This study aimed to determine the incidence and etiological, seasonal, and genetic characteristics of respiratory viral coinfections involving severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Between October 2020 and January 2024, nasopharyngeal samples were collected from 2277 SARS-CoV-2-positive patients. Two multiplex approaches were used to detect and sequence SARS-CoV-2, influenza A/B viruses, and other seasonal respiratory viruses: multiplex real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and multiplex next-generation sequencing. Coinfections of SARS-CoV-2 with other respiratory viruses were detected in 164 (7.2%) patients. The most common co-infecting virus was respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) (38 cases, 1.7%), followed by bocavirus (BoV) (1.2%) and rhinovirus (RV) (1.1%). Patients ≤ 16 years of age had the highest rate (15%) of mixed infections. Whole-genome sequencing produced 19 complete genomes of seasonal respiratory viral co-pathogens, which were subjected to phylogenetic and amino acid analyses. The detected influenza viruses were classified into the genetic groups 6B.1A.5a.2a and 6B.1A.5a.2a.1 for A(H1N1)pdm09, 3C.2a1b.2a.2a.1 and 3C.2a.2b for A(H3N2), and V1A.3a.2 for the B/Victoria lineage. The RSV-B sequences belonged to the genetic group GB5.0.5a, with HAdV-C belonging to type 1, BoV to genotype VP1, and PIV3 to lineage 1a(i). Multiple amino acid substitutions were identified, including at the antibody-binding sites. This study provides insights into respiratory viral coinfections involving SARS-CoV-2 and reinforces the importance of genetic characterization of co-pathogens in the development of therapeutic and preventive strategies. Full article
17 pages, 3107 KiB  
Article
Genetic Diversity and Detection of Respiratory Viruses Excluding SARS-CoV-2 during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Gabon, 2020–2021
by Georgelin Nguema Ondo, Yuri Ushijima, Haruka Abe, Saïdou Mahmoudou, Rodrigue Bikangui, Anne Marie Nkoma, Marien Juliet Veraldy Magossou Mbadinga, Ayong More, Maradona Daouda Agbanrin, Christelle M. Pemba, Romuald Beh Mba, Adegnika Ayola Akim, Bertrand Lell and Jiro Yasuda
Viruses 2024, 16(5), 698; https://doi.org/10.3390/v16050698 - 28 Apr 2024
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Abstract
Acute respiratory infections are a major global burden in resource-limited countries, including countries in Africa. Although COVID-19 has been well studied since the pandemic emerged in Gabon, Central Africa, less attention has been paid to other respiratory viral diseases, and very little data [...] Read more.
Acute respiratory infections are a major global burden in resource-limited countries, including countries in Africa. Although COVID-19 has been well studied since the pandemic emerged in Gabon, Central Africa, less attention has been paid to other respiratory viral diseases, and very little data are available. Herein, we provide the first data on the genetic diversity and detection of 18 major respiratory viruses in Gabon during the COVID-19 pandemic. Of 582 nasopharyngeal swab specimens collected from March 2020 to July 2021, which were SARS-CoV-2 negative, 156 were positive (26%) for the following viruses: enterovirus (20.3%), human rhinovirus (HRV) (4.6%), human coronavirus OC43 (1.2%), human adenovirus (0.9%), human metapneumovirus (hMPV) (0.5%), influenza A virus (IAV) (0.3%), and human parainfluenza viruses (0.5%). To determine the genetic diversity and transmission route of the viruses, phylogenetic analyses were performed using genome sequences of the detected viruses. The IAV strain detected in this study was genetically similar to strains isolated in the USA, whereas the hMPV strain belonging to the A2b subtype formed a cluster with Kenyan strains. This study provides the first complete genomic sequences of HRV, IAV, and hMPV detected in Gabon, and provides insight into the circulation of respiratory viruses in the country. Full article
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13 pages, 1183 KiB  
Article
Trends of Hepatitis A Virus Infection in Poland: Assessing the Potential Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic and War in Ukraine
by Piotr Rzymski, Dorota Zarębska-Michaluk, Agnieszka Genowska, Piotr Tyszko, Birute Strukcinskiene and Robert Flisiak
Viruses 2024, 16(3), 469; https://doi.org/10.3390/v16030469 - 20 Mar 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1032
Abstract
Hepatitis A virus (HAV) is the most common cause of acute viral hepatitis, which is preventable by vaccination. This study analyzed trends of HAV infections in Poland according to socio-demographic features in the years 2009–2022 and assessed the potential impact of the COVID-19 [...] Read more.
Hepatitis A virus (HAV) is the most common cause of acute viral hepatitis, which is preventable by vaccination. This study analyzed trends of HAV infections in Poland according to socio-demographic features in the years 2009–2022 and assessed the potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic (2020–2023) and the migration of war refugees from Ukraine (since February 2022). In 2009–2022, 7115 new cases of HAV infection were diagnosed in Poland, especially among men (66.4%) and in urban areas (77.4%). Infections among men were most common at the age of 25–34 (median rate 0.43 per 105) and in women aged 15–24 (median rate 0.39 per 105). Analysis of the 14-year frequency of HAV infections exhibited three trends, regardless of gender, age, and residence. The infections revealed a downward trend in 2009–2014, increased significantly in 2014–2018, and decreased again after 2018. A particularly rapid increase in HAV infections occurred between March 2017 and February 2018 (median rate 0.79 per 105). The high level of new infections persisted until the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, at which point it dropped significantly but did not reach the level recorded before March 2017. During the Omicron SARS-CoV-2 dominance period, the median rate of HAV infections was 0.053 per 105, with a four-fold increase being observed from February 2022 (when the migration of war refugees from Ukraine began) to August 2022. The presented results can serve as a reference point for further observations in Central Europe. The HAV epidemiological situation is unlikely to escalate in Poland but requires further monitoring. Full article
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8 pages, 434 KiB  
Brief Report
The Outbreak of Unexplained Acute Hepatitis in Children: The Role of Viral Infections in View of the COVID-19 Pandemic
by Eyal Shteyer, Orna Mor, Orith Waisbourd-Zinman, Yael Mozer-Glazberg, Ronen Arnon, Lior Hecht Sagie, Michal Mandelboim, Oran Erster, Merav Weil, Sara Dovrat, Lital Goldberg and Yael Gozlan
Viruses 2024, 16(5), 808; https://doi.org/10.3390/v16050808 - 20 May 2024
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Abstract
Background and Aims: An increase in the number of cases of acute hepatitis of unknown origin (HUO) in children was observed in 2021. Adenovirus and adeno-associated virus 2 (AAV2) infections have been suggested as possible triggers. However, the potential etiology is still unclear. [...] Read more.
Background and Aims: An increase in the number of cases of acute hepatitis of unknown origin (HUO) in children was observed in 2021. Adenovirus and adeno-associated virus 2 (AAV2) infections have been suggested as possible triggers. However, the potential etiology is still unclear. We aimed to characterize a cohort of children with HUO in Israel in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. Method: Demographics, clinical data, and laboratory results on the children compatible with the CDC criteria for HUO were collected by the established registry of the Ministry of Health. Available specimens were sent to the Central Virology Laboratory. Results: A total of 39 children were included in the registry. A total of 20 were enrolled prospectively, in which human herpes virus 6 (HHV6) infection or reactivation was identified in 11/19, adenovirus was found in 4/19 of the cases, and AAV2 was detected in 2/16. Past COVID-19 exposure was recorded for 24/39 of the children. A total of 10 children underwent liver biopsy, and 8 were successfully treated with steroids and 2 underwent liver transplantation. Conclusions: The COVID-19 pandemic and the related containment measures combined with reactivation or active infection with other viruses could have been a trigger for the HUO outbreak. In our cohort, HHV6 was the most abundant finding. Full article
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