5 viruses experts are keeping watch on this summer

COVID-19 hospitalizations hit a record low at the end of May — this, after a hectic winter and spring that brought a surge in respiratory syncytial virus, flu and invasive strep. 

While experts are hoping for a calm summer, slight upticks in certain illnesses have experts on alert as the season begins, NBC News reported June 4. 

"You can never really predict the future, but I would hope that we'll have a boring summer," Anthony Leung, DO, infectious disease specialist at Cleveland Clinic, told NBC

Five viruses experts are watching: 

COVID-19: It comes as no surprise that physicians and infectious disease experts continue to watch COVID-19 trends. While it's nearly impossible to track cases at this point, CDC data shows hospitalizations have hit a record low. For the week ending May 27, there were 7,643 new COVID-19 admissions at hospitals in the U.S. Experts said summer gatherings could cause some degree of uptick in COVID-19 activity. 

Enteroviruses: "That's the virus that we anticipate seeing in the summertime," Amina Ahmed, MD, chief of pediatric infectious diseases and immunology at Charlotte, N.C.-based Atrium Health Levine Children's Hospital, told NBC. These viruses typically spread through coughing and sneezing, and cause mild, cold-like infections or no symptoms at all. 

Although rare, they can also cause severe illness. Enterovirus D68 has been tied to acute flaccid myelitis — a polio-like condition that typically affects children. Last summer, the CDC said hospitals had detected the largest number of infections caused by enterovirus D68 since 2018. 

Norovirus: As more Americans return to travel, more outbreaks of norovirus could occur, experts said. Norovirus is a highly contagious stomach bug and is sometimes associated with cruise ships. 

Lyme disease: In the summer, many diseases are tied to exposure to insects rather than person-to-person spread. Experts anticipate a spike in Lyme disease — a tick-borne illness caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi — this summer. The CDC has also warned about rising cases of babesiosis, a different tick disease. 

Mpox: An uptick of mpox cases in Chicago prompted a CDC advisory on the potential for an  mpox resurgence this summer. 

"Mpox is not seasonal. It's really about the way people get together," Michael Saag, MD, associate dean for global health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, told NBC. "This is something that we want to be really clear about watching and getting people to vaccinations."


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