No Flu, few Gastroenteritis: Where winter viruses gone?

The barrier gestures deployed to fight against the Covid-19 epidemic seem to show all their effectiveness reducing other viruses’ circulation.

In the offices of general practitioners, apart from Covid cases, it is dead calm.

There is no shadow of the flu in France for four months. And even if some gastroenteritis seems to be making a comeback for one to two weeks, their number remains very marginal compared to previous years. But what is happening then? To believe that Covid-19 crushes everything else. Unless the barrier gestures here show all their effectiveness.

Winter Viruses: Dead calm in medical offices

The same thing was observed last summer in the southern hemisphere. In France, general practitioners confirm this: apart from Covid cases, their daily life consists of taking care of elderly patients and their chronic diseases. Flat calm for the rest. Some firms even say they have lost up to 30% of their usual business.

So, of course, we go out and travel less. If there are fewer gastroenteritis, it is undoubtedly thanks to hand washing, which is more systematic, believes Dr Jean-Claude Manuguerra.

Wearing a mask, social distancing, and hydro alcoholic gel are also powerful brakes on virus circulation.

The virologist also evokes the influenza pandemic of 2009. “When the pandemic H1N1 arrived, we saw a decrease in the circulation of other respiratory viruses, and even gastroenteritis viruses. Because we had recommended the use of hydroalcoholic gel, there was an effect on the other viruses “.

Small exception, however, rhinoviruses, the cause of colds continue to circulate.

“They are tiny viruses, resistant in the external environment, which may explain why preventing their transmission is more difficult”.

Flu Mystery : Winter Viruses

For the specialist, the more significant number of people vaccinated against influenza this year cannot by itself explain the absence of this pathology for four months. If there are years with flu, like last winter, there are also years without it, like in 2001. And this without us being able to explain it very well. We will therefore try to understand a posteriori what remains for the moment a mystery.