Pandemic 'silver lining'? No flu, RSV admissions reported by Utah children's hospital

Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Primary Children's Hospital has admitted zero patients with flu or respiratory syncytial virus this season, "which is unheard of," the health system said Feb. 22. 

Typically, the hospital admits about 80 children with flu or RSV every week in January and February when the respiratory viral season peaks. Up to one-third of these patients usually require intensive care, according to Per Gesteland, MD, a pediatric hospitalist at University of Utah Health and Intermountain Primary Children's Hospital. 

This trend is mirrored across the state and nationwide. As of mid-February, the CDC had reported 11 positive tests for RSV. Last year at this time, that figure was closer to 2,300 positive tests.

"Masking, hand-washing and physical distancing clearly played a major role, but it is hard to understand why RSV just did not show up at all this year," Andrew Pavia, MD, chief of pediatric infectious disease at University of Utah Health and director of epidemiology at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital, said in a news release. "It's a silver lining of the pandemic, but also [a] bit of a mystery." 

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