Increase in non-COVID-19 respiratory infections predicted this winter
Press release issued: 9 August 2022
An increase in the number of non-COVID-19 respiratory infections should be expected this winter, say scientists. The warning comes following the results of a new study, published in The Lancet Regional Health – Europe, which found that over 55% of respiratory disease hospitalisations during the pandemic’s peak were caused by non-SARS-CoV-2 infections.
The University Bristol-led study funded and conducted in collaboration with Pfizer Inc., as part of AvonCAP, is the first to compare the number of hospitalisations from respiratory disease infections caused by COVID-19 and non-SARS-CoV-2 infections.
Using data from 135,014 hospitalisations from two large hospitals in Bristol between August 2020 and November 2021, researchers identified 12,557 admissions attributable to acute Lower Respiratory Tract Disease (aLRTD) with patients admitted with signs or symptoms of respiratory infections including cough, fever, pleurisy, or a clinical or radiological aLRTD diagnosis. Of these, 12,248 (98%) patients, comprising mainly older adults, consented to participate in the study.
Following further analysis, the team show that of the 12,248 aLRTD hospitalisations, 55% (6,909) were due to infection with no evidence of SARS-CoV-2, while confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection only accounted for 26% (3,178) of respiratory infections. The remaining 17% (2,161) were due to infection with no infective cause.
Paper: ‘Incidence of community acquired lower respiratory tract disease in Bristol, UK during the COVID-19 pandemic: a prospective cohort study’ by A Finn et al. in The Lancet Regional Health – Europe