Respiratory Virus Infections on the Rise

  • By Sun Jung-min

    October 19, 2022 11:08

    Acute respiratory infections caused by various viruses are increasing, especially among children.
    According to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency on Tuesday, up to 1,000 people were hospitalized with acute respiratory infections in the first week of this month, more than doubling from a year ago.
    The viruses spread through physical contact and droplets. Among patients hospitalized with respiratory illnesses, 349 were infected with metapneumovirus, while cases of respiratory syncytial virus also surged to 309.
    Last year there were just a handful of cases because lockdown also prevented other respiratory viruses from spreading. But that also resulted in a decline in immunity levels, which makes the resurgence of these seasonal viruses more dangerous, doctors warn.
    The result could be a triple whammy of seasonal flu, respiratory viruses and resurgent COVID-19 this winter.
    People wait in line for free flu shots in Seoul on Tuesday. /News1
    Suspected flu cases remain steady at seven out of every 1,000 people across the country in the first week of this month. Jung Ki-suck at Hallym University Sacred Heart Hospital said, "There is a possibility of a resurgence in COVID cases in early December, so getting vaccinated for both COVID and seasonal flu is highly recommended."
    Meanwhile, the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety has granted emergency approval for Pfizer's enhanced mRNA vaccine against COVID-19. Vaccination schedules will be announced at the end of this month.
    On Tuesday morning, the daily tally of new coronavirus infections stood at 29,503.
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