Urgent warning as Covid is making common viruses act bizarrely – putting kids at risk | The Sun

COVID has caused other viruses to act bizarrely, experts say, and children are at risk.

The coronavirus was the primary concern for the world for two years, with all resources going towards controlling it.

But its existence has had an impact on the trends of other bugs and how they behave, experts say.

It includes liver inflammation in children, monkeypox, respiratory bugs and scarlet fever.

Some have mostly affected children – and parents have been urged to be aware of symptoms, and check their kids' vaccine status.

Dr Scott Roberts, a Yale medical expert, told the Independent: “Now that people have unmasked, places are opening up, we’re seeing viruses behave in very odd ways that they weren’t before.

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“We’ve never seen a flu season in the U.S. extend into June. Covid has clearly had a very big impact on that.”

Time indoors 

Because we spent so much time indoors away from others, immunity against common viruses fell. 

Normally children would have contracted a number of bugs while at nursery and school, slowly building a defence in the early years of life.

But they are going into school without any protection, causing a surge in viruses and change in data trends.

There have been unusual spikes in RSV – a respiratory infection – in summer months, when it usually is a problem in the winter.

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Outbreaks of scarlet fever, or the so-called “Victorian” disease, have cropped up across the country in recent months. 

Most unusually, there has been a mysterious outbreak of hepatitis (liver inflammation) in children this year.

Investigations by The UK Health and Security Agency (UKHSA) continue to suggest a link with prior adenovirus infection.

“But investigations continue to unpick the exact reason for the rise in cases,” said Dr Renu Bindra, Senior Medical Advisor at UKHSA.

Prof Simon Taylor-Robinson, Hepatologist, Imperial College London, said: “Given their seasonality, it may be that the past two years has seen children isolated away from their peers and thus not contracting the usual childhood viral illnesses that build up immunity.  

“Thus, contact now to viruses like adenoviruses may account for the more exaggerated symptoms of some of these previously isolating children.”

The UKHSA said it is investigating whether co-infection with another bug, such as Covid, is the driving force.

“Some of the children with acute hepatitis have recently had a Covid-19 infection,” UKHSA said.

“But there has been a high number of Covid-19 infections in this age group so this is not unexpected.”

Jab drop 

The fallout of the pandemic saw a drop in kids’ vaccination rates.  

Dr Vanessa Saliba, Consultant Epidemiologist at the UK Health and Security Agency (UKHSA), previously told The Sun: “Disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has been the main driver for the fall in childhood vaccine uptake observed over the past two years.

“This decline in coverage means we have reduced protection against infectious diseases such as measles with the risk of outbreaks occurring."

Measles vaccination rates have dropped to their lowest level in a decade, the the UK Health and Security Agency (UKHSA) said in February.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says 95 per cent of people need to be jabbed against measles to keep control of it.

But the most recent figures from September showed that only 85.5 per cent of five-year-olds have had their two doses of the MMR jab – which protects against measles, mumps and rubella.


The majority of public health resources have been dedicated to tracking Covid for the past couple of years.

Other conditions like monkeypox and tuberculosis may have quietly spread as a result of this, the Independent reported.

In March, the UKHSA called on public and healthcare professionals to help reverse an upward trend in tuberculosis (TB) cases.

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said it was “very concerning” to see an uptick in cases after “significant progress made in the last decade to eliminating tuberculosis in England”.

TB incidence has been rising since 2019, and although this stalled in 2020 due to Covid, it has since been on the up again.

Babies, toddlers and young children are more at risk of getting ill from TB than healthy adults.

The World Health Organisation warned in early June that monkeypox may have been spreading within communities for “months or possibly a couple of years.”

The bug has been detected several hundred times in May in countries it is not usually seen.

This includes the UK. However, almost all cases have been in men in their 30s and 40s.

Dr Babak Ashrafi, Clinical Lead at ZAVA UK, said: “Investigations are ongoing as to how the virus is spreading and what started the outbreak in the first place.

“Has the Covid-19 virus and/or lockdowns played a role?

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“There is no evidence that the monkeypox virus is linked to Covid-19, or any of the vaccines. 

“However, the relaxation of lockdown, and return to international travel, may have opened the door again to transmitting new infections.”

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