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Covid threw the infectious diseases playbook out the window this past winter.

Instead of the typical flu season, the U.S. endured a record mix of invasive strep infections, flu, RSV, enteroviruses and other respiratory illnesses that competed with Covid to make most Americans sick at some point.

It might not be over yet.

Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a spring spike of human metapneumovirus. HMPV is a respiratory virus that's related to RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) and is usually spread through coughing, sneezing or touching surfaces that contain infected respiratory droplets. "We've seen a ton of HMPV," said Dr. Buddy Creech, a pediatric infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee. Most cases are mild, Creech said, involving wheezing and "lots of snot."

Despite the uptick, the CDC said it seems unlikely that HMPV will surge this summer.

"HMPV activity right now is not remarkable," an agency spokesman said in an email, adding that the risk for HMPV spread is low.

If Covid has turned typical seasonal illnesses upside down, what's ahead for summer?

"You can never really predict the future, but I would hope that we'll have a boring summer," said Dr. Anthony K. Leung, an infectious disease specialist at the Cleveland Clinic.

It's been several years of unseasonal spikes of childhood illnesses such as croup, strep A and RSV, a winter virus that surged during the summers of 2021 and 2022.

While the U.S. seems to have stabilized for the moment, summer travel is just getting started. Slight upticks in other viruses have put infectious disease experts on alert as we head into the summer of 2023.


It is impossible to know how many Covid cases are circulating. The CDC isn't tracking cases, although wastewater testing is still underway. Some areas of the country, such as New York City, are now seeing high levels of Covid in those samples.

It's too soon to know whether those cases will result in a new wave of severe sickness. As temperatures rise, people will increase their chances of getting infected just by gathering inside in air-conditioned areas, behind closed windows and doors.

"Just like in the wintertime, anytime you're indoors together, and someone has it, it's pretty easily spreadable," said Jodie Guest, a professor of epidemiology at Emory's Rollins School of Public Health in Atlanta.

On a hopeful note, hospitalizations from Covid have fallen consistently since the beginning of the year, according to the CDC.


Enterovirus is an umbrella term for many different viruses, such as hand, foot and mouth disease, and even the typical summer cold. These viruses usually spread by coughing and sneezing.

Source : NBCnews/health


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