Hospitals reported an unusually large number of children presenting with RSV over the summer of 2021. The number of positive coronavirus tests rapidly increased after the summer of 2021. And following a year of almost no flu, the start of 2022 saw a flu epidemic. These are some of the findings published in RIVM’s annual overview of the number of patients diagnosed with flu and other respiratory tract infections in the Netherlands.
RSV is primarily a winter virus, but the number of infections reported over the winter of 2020-2021 was unusually low. It was not until the spring of 2021 that RSV infections in children increased. Hospitals reported a peak in the number of infections during the summer of 2021. The levels then dropped, but remained higher than in previous years.
More positive coronavirus tests due to new variants
Following the emergence of the delta and omicron variants, the number of coronavirus infections rapidly increased after the summer of 2021. More than 6.4 million people tested positive for the coronavirus between May 2021 and May 2022. Around 45,000 people were hospitalised with COVID-19, with more than 5,700 placed in intensive care.
2022 flu epidemic
Few people fell ill with flu during the 2020-2021 season, but the winter of 2021-2022 saw a flu epidemic. It started later than in previous seasons and lasted 13 weeks. An estimated 795,000 people were infected with flu.
Other respiratory tract infections
The number of Q fever patients recorded in 2021 was equal to the previous year. Cases of legionella were significantly higher than in 2020. There were also more cases of tuberculosis, though numbers were still lower than before the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of people diagnosed with psittacosis (parrot fever) was significantly lower than last year and preceding years.