Pune: Unlike the past three waves of the pandemic, when fever — in most cases — meant Covid, the current period is a mixed bag of seasonal viruses and SARS-CoV-2, experts have said.

Scientists from ICMR-NIV said seasonal viruses, including H1N1 (swine flu) and H3N2, are now co-circulating with SARS-CoV-2. Dengue cases are also up, an NIV scientist said.

“It’s an overlapping season of flu, SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory viruses. Not every fever means Covid now. Our study clearly shows that,” the scientist said. 

Jehangir Hospital’s infectious diseases expert Dr Piyush Chaudhari said, “Our OPD’s Covid positivity rate, from start of June, has been below 5%. But this is steadily rising. People are also coming in with dengue, typhoid, rickettsial infection, viral gastroenteritis and bacterial pneumonias.” 

He added, “We are also seeing cases of H1N1 influenza (swine flu), which were far fewer during the two years of the pandemic. So yes, a fever no longer means just Covid.” 

Dr Chaudhari estimated that viral gastroenteritis, dengue, typhoid may each be nearly 20-25% of the caseload while Covid and influenza viruses are likely to be another 25% share. “But Covid-19 and influenza are likely to dominate in the next six to eight weeks,” he said.

Experts have urged those eligible to get their Covid boosters as early as possible. And a flu shot has been recommended for the elderly, the immunocompromised and children.