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Non-COVID-19 respiratory infections statistics

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 that found that over 55% of respiratory disease hospitalisations during the pandemic’s peak in 2021–2022 were caused by non-SARS-CoV-2 infections.

The University of Bristol-led study 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.

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.

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Image credit | Getty

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