Absence of detection of RSV and influenza during the COVID-19 pandemic in a Brazilian cohort: Likely role of lower transmission in the community
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Background: Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and influenza are prevalent seasonal community viruses. Although not completely understood, SARS-CoV-2 may have the same means of transmission. Preventive social measures aimed at preventing SARS-CoV-2 spread could impact transmission of other respiratory viruses as well. The aim of this study is to report the detection of RSV and influenza during the period of social distancing due to COVID-19 pandemic in a heavily affected community. Methods: Prospective study with pediatric and adult populations seeking care for COVID-19-like symptoms during the fall and winter of 2020 at two hospitals in Southern Brazil. RT-PCR tests for SARS-CoV-2, influenza A (Flu A), influenza B (Flu B) and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) was performed for all participants. Results: 1435 suspected COVID-19 participants (1137 adults, and 298 children). were included between May and August. Median age was 37.7 years (IQR = 29.6-47.7), and 4.92 years (IQR = 1.96-9.53), for the adult and child cohorts, respectively. SARS-CoV-2 was positive in 469 (32.7%) while influenza and RSV were not detected at all. Conclusions: Measures to reduce SARS-CoV-2 transmission likely exerted a huge impact in the spread of alternate respiratory pathogens. These findings contribute to the knowledge about the dynamics of virus spread. Further, it may be considered for guiding therapeutic choices for these other viruses.
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