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In International journal of infectious diseases : IJID : official publication of the International Society for Infectious Diseases

OBJECTIVES : We investigated whether the non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) reduce winter-prevalent respiratory viral infections represented by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and influenza virus (IFV) during the winter in Korea.

METHODS : The Korean Influenza and Respiratory Virus Monitoring System database was used. From January 2016 through January 2021, the weekly positivity of respiratory viruses and the weekly number of hospitalizations with acute respiratory infections were collected. The NPI period was defined as February 2020-January 2021. We analyzed whether hospitalization and sample positivity by respiratory viruses changed after NPIs. Bayesian structural time-series models and Poisson analyses were used. Data from other countries/regions reporting positive rates of RSV and IFV were also investigated.

RESULTS : Compared with the pre-NPI period, the positive rates of RSV and IFV decreased significantly to 19% and 6%, and 23% and 6% of the predicted value. Also, hospitalization significantly decreased to 9% and 8%, and 10% and 5% of the predicted value. The positive rates of IFV in 14 countries during the NPI period were almost 0, whereas sporadic outbreaks of RSV occurred in some countries.

CONCLUSIONS : No RSV and IFV winter epidemics were observed during the 2020-2021 season in Korea.

Kim Jong-Hun, Roh Yun Ho, Ahn Jong Gyun, Kim Min Young, Huh Kyungmin, Jung Jaehun, Kang Ji-Man


COVID-19, Influenza, Respiratory syncytial virus, South Korea, non-pharmaceutical intervention