NFID Board Members Discuss COVID-19's Impact on RSV Seasonality

William Schaffner, MD, medical director at the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID), and Patsy Stinchfield, RN, MS, CPNP, president-elect of NFID, explain how the COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on the seasonality of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

William Schaffner, MD, medical director at the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID), and Patsy Stinchfield, RN, MS, CPNP, president-elect of NFID, explain how the COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on the seasonality of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

Transcript

How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the normal seasonality of respiratory syncytial virus?

Stinchfield: The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted a lot of things, including other viruses, some of which have had to take a backseat to this virus. RSV season, as we typically see it in the fall and winter, was definitely disrupted. At the beginning of the pandemic, we saw some coinfections in children—both RSV and SARS-CoV-2, or influenza [and] SARS-CoV-2, a little bit of influenza and RSV. The second winter, though, we really didn't see much RSV and then, very strangely, RSV reemerged in the summer unexpectedly and with a vengeance. The pediatric population has quieted down, and now when it's supposed to be high right now, it's really not as much of a factor.

Schaffner: And that's been true largely across the country, because it's happened exactly as Patsy's described in Minnesota [and] that's exactly what's happened here in Tennessee. RSV has come early, disappeared early, or almost disappeared early. We're looking forward to reviewing our data to see how many coinfections we will find of both RSV and COVID at the same time. How frequent is it? Can we distinguish these patients from others? Do they produce more severe disease when they are present at the same time? Those are questions that are still unanswered.