So far in 2022, more than 12,000 Australians have died with COVID, six times the number of deaths in the previous two years.
Authorities have been warned about five virus families that could cause future pandemics. Here are snapshots of the diseases each can cause and why we should be worried.
Some viruses even tend to be more common in the summer than in the winter.
Coinfections with bacteria can make viral infections even deadlier. Researchers have identified a protein in immune cells that may play a role in fighting both types of pathogens.
The risk of serious disease outbreaks among NZ children is now very real. Some childhood immunisation rates have dropped from about 80% in early 2020 to 67% by June 2022, and as low as 45% for Māori.
Some lozenges are more effective than others at soothing a sore throat.
This winter we’re seeing high rates of COVID and the re-emergence of influenza. So how do they compare, in terms of transmissibility and deadliness?
Flu vaccinations protect against four subtypes of influenza. But we don’t know what subtypes will circulate this flu season.
If you’re over 65, you’ll likely get an immune-boosting flu shot. And there are options for those who don’t want a vaccine made with eggs – though the standard shots are safe for those with allergies.
A new generation of vaccines and boosters against SARS-CoV-2 may take a page from the anti-influenza playbook, with shots periodically tailored to target the most commonly circulating virus strains.
A yet-to-be-verified study found health-care workers who’d had a flu shot were a third less likely to test positive for COVID – and 90% less likely to develop severe COVID symptoms.
Far from a mild disease, the flu can cause serious illness and death, particularly among children and older age groups. The flu vaccine isn’t perfect, but it’s the best way to protect yourself.
Flu vaccines will soon be available. And this year, you can get your COVID shot at the same time.
Decreases in respiratory infections during the pandemic suggest there may be a continued role for the selective, non-mandated use of measures like masks and social distancing even post-COVID-19.
Before COVID-19, clean water, antibiotics and vaccines had made us complacent about infectious disease. Infection control can no longer be taken for granted. We must be prepared for future pandemics.
Whooping cough rates are the lowest they’ve been for years. But what comes next?
After two years of COVID-19, it’s understandable that many people are weary of infection prevention measures. But simply being tired of the pandemic is no reason to let our guard down.
Not only have asthma attack rates decreased during the pandemic, evidence suggests people with asthma are not at increased risk of severe outcomes from COVID.
Chickenpox has largely disappeared from the public’s memory thanks to a highly effective vaccine. But the virus’s clever life cycle allows it to reappear in later adulthood in the form of shingles.
As international borders open, restrictions ease and we mingle with others, we can expect more germs to circulate.