Investigating epidemiological distribution (temporality and intensity) of respiratory pathogens following COVID-19 de-escalation process in Catalonia, September 2016-June 2021 : Analysis of regional surveillance data

Copyright: © 2024 Guadalupe-Fernández et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited..

BACKGROUND: Following the low incidence rates of non-SARS-CoV-2 respiratory viruses registered during the strict lockdown enforced in the pandemic, a resurgence of several endemic viruses in Catalonia (Spain) was noted during the early summer of 2021.

OBJECTIVES: In this study, we investigated whether the circulation of non-SARS-CoV-2 respiratory viruses in Catalonia, assessed by Microbiological Reporting System of Catalonia (MRSC) and the Epidemiological Surveillance Network of Catalonia, was affected by the strict lockdown measures, as well as, the implication of the Coronavirus Disease 19 (COVID-19) de-escalation process in the late season outbreaks registered during the 2020-2021 season.

STUDY DESIGN: A retrospective comparison of epidemic patterns in the respiratory viruses' incidence, using regional public health surveillance data from MRSC, was performed between weeks 26/2016 to week 27/2021. Data were expressed as the weekly total number of test positivity for individual viruses. A segmented negative binomial regression model was conducted, with two parameters included (level and trend) for each segment of the time series (2020 pre-lockdown, 2020 post-lockdown and 2021). Results were reported as a unit changed in the strict lockdown.

RESULTS: A total of 51588 confirmed cases of the different respiratory viruses were included in the analysis, the majority were influenza cases (63.7%). An immediate reduction in the weekly number of cases was observed in 2020 after the COVID-19 outbreak for human adenovirus virus (HAdV) (β2 = -2.606; P <0.01), human parainfluenza virus (HPIV) (β2 = -3.023; P <0.01), influenza virus (IFV) (β2 = -1.259; P <0.01), but not for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), where the number of cases remained unchanged. During 2020, a significant negative trend was found for RSV (β3 = -0.170, P <0.01), and a positive trend for HAdV (β3 = 0.075, P <0.01). During 2021, a significant reduction in the weekly number of cases was also observed for all respiratory viruses, and a borderline non-significant reduction for HPIV (β3 = -0.027; P = 0.086). Moreover, significant positive trends were found for each viral pathogen, except for influenza during 2020-2021 season, where cases remained close to zero. The respiratory viruses increased activity and their late season epidemic start particularly affected children under 6 years old.

CONCLUSIONS: Our data not only provides evidence that occurrence of different respiratory virus infections was affected by the strict lockdown taken against SARS-CoV-2 but it also shows a late resurgence of seasonal respiratory viruses' cases during the 2020-2021 season following the relaxation of COVID-19-targeted non-pharmaceutical interventions.

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Electronic Article

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To Main Record - volume:19

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PloS one - 19(2024), 2 vom: 09., Seite e0285892




Guadalupe-Fernández, Víctor [Author]
Martínez-Solanas, Erica [Author]
Sabrià-Sunyé, Aurora [Author]
Ferrer-Mikoly, Carol [Author]
Martínez-Mateo, Ana [Author]
Ciruela-Navas, Pilar [Author]
Mendioroz, Jacobo [Author]
Basile, Luca [Author]
Epidemiological Surveillance Network of Catalonia [Author]




Journal Article


Date Completed 14.02.2024

Date Revised 14.02.2024

published: Electronic-eCollection

Citation Status MEDLINE




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