Flu, COVID-19, and RSV Updates: Cases Rising

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Published On: December 8th, 2023Categories: Education & ResourcesTags: , ,

With the winter months rolling in, this year will be the fourth holiday season in what is considered the new normal, with cases of COVID-19, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and influenza still increasing after Thanksgiving. Vaccination is still key to prevention and better outcomes.

This season so far, there have been about 780,000 to 1.6 million cases of the flu and about 8,000 people hospitalized from it. 

Vaccination is linked to reduced antibiotic use, according to a study in Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control. Randomized controlled trials showed a more pronounced reduction in the number of prescriptions for antibiotics as well as duration of antibiotic therapy. Researchers concluded getting a flu shot is an important way to lower the use of antibiotics and perhaps prevent antimicrobial resistance.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to urge older adults to stay updated on COVID-19 vaccinations, as the prevalence of a highly mutated variant has tripled in the past few weeks. Now, nearly one in 10 new COVID-19 cases are fueled by the BA.2.86 variant. 

Receiving at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine before infection is linked to a lower risk for developing long COVID, according to a study published recently in The BMJ. Unvaccinated individuals were almost four times as likely to be diagnosed with long COVID compared with those who were vaccinated before getting infected. 

New studies also continue to highlight the aftereffects of COVID-19, as a recent study helps explain how infection heightens risk of heart attack and stroke.

The CDC also shared new guidance for healthcare professionals about spotting and treating RSV, in addition to vaccination recommendations for adults over 60. The agency also warns that adults over the age of 75 who get RSV are more likely to have severe cases requiring hospitalization, so vaccination and prevention measures are essential.

For the CDC’s general vaccine recommendations for older adults, click here