Doctors compared mortality of COVID and other infections

On the page of the doctor and TV presenter Alexander Myasnikov interesting information about the situation with infectious diseases in the world was published on the social network. And in particular that rotavirus infection causes hundreds of thousands of deaths per year in the world. Is the familiar and familiar rotavirus more dangerous than the coronavirus? “KP»Understands together with the immunologist, expert in public health and international health care, candidate of medical sciences Nikolay Kryuchkov.

– Of course, in addition to COVID-19, there are many other dangerous diseases in the world and these are not necessarily infectious diseases. Let me remind you that mortality from cardiovascular diseases is in the first place, also high mortality is associated with oncological diseases, in particular, lung cancer, and, of course, infectious diseases are also often the cause of death. However, the threat of rotavirus infection today is greatly exaggerated, said Nikolai Kryuchkov.

How many people die from rotavirus?

According to pessimistic estimates provided by the World Health Organization, around the world in 2013, 215 thousand children under the age of five died from rotavirus infection. According to other data obtained in international studies, this is 122 thousand deaths in 2013.

– The situation since 2013 in terms of mortality from rotavirus infection has not changed much. I think here we can talk about 200 thousand deaths per year among children under five years of age. Half of the world’s deaths occur in five countries: India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Angola and Congo– emphasizes the immunologist Nikolai Kryuchkov. – In the media you can often find information that up to a third of deaths of children under five are caused by rotavirus. This is not true! The fact is that among all deaths of children under five years of age in the world, mortality from diarrhea accounts for about 8%, but among these 8% of deaths from diarrhea – from 25% to 30% are attributable to rotavirus. That is, it turns out about 200 thousand deaths of children under five years of age per year in the world, while more than 6 million children under five die in the world per year.

On the page of the doctor and TV presenter Alexander Myasnikov on the social network, interesting information was published on the situation with infectious diseasesPhoto: Ivan PROKHOROV

Is rotavirus disease relevant for Russia?

If you consider Europeyy region to which Russia, then the figures for mortality from diarrhea are lower than in developing countries. Mortality from diarrhea among children under five in Europe is 4% – 5% of all childhood deaths. About a quarter of them are rotavirus.

In Russia, according to WHO estimates, in 2013, 52 children under the age of five died from rotavirus infection, which is 0.3% of all other deaths of children under five years of age. Rotavirus infection is not the most common cause of death among children, and even more so among adults (the latter rarely die from rotavirus, so all statistics are data on the death of children – approx. Ed.).

– Rotavirus is a problem primarily in poor countries with a warm climate. For Russia, this is also a problem, but to a much lesser extent, ”said Nikolai Kryuchkov, a doctor. – It is important to emphasize that effective and safe rotavirus vaccines exist.

The incidence of rotavirus infection after the introduction of vaccination has decreased many times. In Russia, universal vaccination against rotavirus is not carried out, but, despite this, mortality is low, given that it is clear how to help such patients. The main thing here is replenishment of lost fluid and symptomatic therapy. Given these two factors — the availability of a vaccine and the development of affordable treatment — mortality from rotavirus is very low even among children from zero to five years old, not to mention adults. Among adults, these are isolated cases.

Who is worse: rotavirus or coronavirus?

According to epidemiologists, mortality (taking into account the number of deaths from the number of episodes of the disease) of rotavirus infection in the world is from 0.05% to 0.09%. This is comparable to mortality from seasonal flu. Yes, in the poorest countries it can reach up to 2%. However, in this case, only moderate to severe episodes are taken into account, and not all cases of rotavirus infection.

“With coronavirus infection, according to my most optimistic forecasts, the mortality rate in the world will be 2%,” says Nikolay Kryuchkov. – Let me remind you that now the mortality rate from COVID-19 in Russia is about 4%. AT Germany – 3.5%, and this is one of the best examples in Europe. Of course, a lot depends on how the data are kept and analyzed, but even though there are probably unaccounted cases, the mortality from coronavirus infection is much higher than the mortality from rotavirus. And the epidemic of coronavirus infection is still far from over.

“It is also important to understand that we are having a coronavirus pandemic, and the situation with rotavirus is under control.” The number of deaths from coronavirus is now growing, due to the fact that there is an increase in cases of infection. The daily increase in new cases of coronavirus infection in the world is more than 5%, and in Russia today it is more than 8%. Therefore, it is obvious that the situation with rotavirus is stable, and the coronavirus pandemic for us is not known how it will end. The coronavirus infection pandemic continues to grow, it is important to understand this, ”Nikolay Kryuchkov emphasized in a conversation with“ KP ”. – When we talk about the number of deaths from rotavirus, 200 thousand people a year around the world among children under five years of age are deaths that happened in a year! As we know, the coronavirus epidemic lasts about four months. This is significantly less than a year.

The daily increase in new cases of coronavirus infection in the world is more than 5%, and in Russia today it is more than 8% Photo: Ivan MAKEEV

The daily increase in new cases of coronavirus infection in the world is more than 5%, and in Russia today it is more than 8%Photo: Ivan MAKEEV

How many deaths from coronavirus infection will be in a year (given that, according to the data of May 3, 243,922 people died in the world – approx. Ed.)? Yes, there are other dangerous infections in the world, but many of them can be protected. This is Hepatitis B, and pneumococcal infection, tetanus, and so on. And Dr. Myasnikov rightly points out the need for widespread vaccination against the most dangerous and common infections. Unfortunately, there are no vaccines from COVID-19 yet, they will be ready by the spring of next year at best.

Also, an important difference between the course of rotavirus infection and coronavirus infection: hospitalization with rotavirus disease in developed countries is very rare. All necessary treatment conditions can be provided at home. With coronavirus, the patient often needs active therapy, which can only be provided in a specialized medical institution.


Dr. Myasnikov gives such statistics on mortality from infections (in the world for a year)

Measles (there is a vaccine) – 140 thousand deaths per year

Pneumococcus (there is a vaccine) – 2 -2.5 million deaths per year

Hepatitis B (there is a vaccine) – 650 thousand deaths per year

Tetanus (there is a vaccine) – 89 thousand deaths per year

Cervical cancer (there is a vaccine) – 250 thousand deaths per year

Tuberculosis (there is a vaccine) – 1.5 million deaths per year

Influenza (there is a vaccine) – 650 thousand-1 million deaths per year

Coronavirus (no vaccine) – 244 thousand deaths from the beginning of the spread

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