GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A new study by Michigan researchers shows that infants and toddlers battling multiple infections have a higher risk of having severe outcomes.
This comes as the flu, COVID-19, and RSV have created what health officials refer to as a “tripledemic.”
Research by doctors from Corewell Health East and Oakland University shows that omicron cases of COVID-19 had the highest hospital admission rates among those under the age of 17. More serious illnesses were less likely with omicron than during the delta and alpha variants.
But the study said if other respiratory viruses such as the flu or RSV were involved with any of the other variants, the chance of a severe outcome doubled, creating a ripple effect.
“There are lots of implications here … our children still are getting sick, even if they’re not making it to the hospital or being admitted, this translates into missed activities or missed school days, to missed work for parents,” said Dr. Amit Bahl an emergency medicine physician at Corewell Health East (formerly Spectrum Health).
Not only are the infections affecting children and their families, but also hospital workers.
“If you look at this from a systems perspective, our ERs have been flooded with respiratory illness from the last few months, so there’s only so much capacity, especially when you tie it into the shortages that we’re seeing with our medical workers, and it’s translating into longer wait times and there’s only a certain threshold, once you cross that certain threshold, the system itself, the healthcare system, really can be overtaxed and overburdened,” Bahl said.
The researchers said that 12% of children who come to the hospital with multiple infections at a time have experienced severe symptoms.