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Oregonians are in for a possible "respiratory trifecta" this season

There has been talk of a "respiratory trifecta" a "triple-demic" this winter, but health officials say every respiratory season is a bad respiratory season. Protect yourself!
Kristen Wook
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There has been talk of a "respiratory trifecta" a "triple-demic" this winter, but health officials say every respiratory season is a bad respiratory season. Protect yourself!

Health officials are concerned about three different respiratory viruses this season: COVID-19, RSV and influenza.

Dr. Tom Jeanne is Deputy State Health Officer with the Oregon Health Authority. “Some have been talking about a respiratory’ trifecta’ this season or a ‘triple-demic,’ but as we like to say in public health, every respiratory season is a bad respiratory season.”

Jeanne said each of these pathogens are expected to circulate at higher levels than we’ve experienced over the last two years.

Statewide, nearly 13% of those eligible have received the newest bivalent COVID-19 booster, which provides protections specifically against the predominant BA5 subvariant.

 Health officials urge Oregonians to get up to date on all their vaccinations as we enter the respiratory season.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Health officials urge Oregonians to get up to date on all their vaccinations as we enter the respiratory season.

Respiratory Syncytial Virus, or RSV, is the most common cause of lower respiratory infection in infants and young children. It is transmitted through respiratory droplets and direct contact. There is currently no RSV vaccine.

But, there is a flu shot to protect against influenza and Jeanne encourages getting one before Thanksgiving.

 Dr. Tom Jeanne is Deputy State Deputy State Health Officer and Deputy State Epidemiologist with the Oregon Health Authority.
Screen shot from YouTube OHA presser
Dr. Tom Jeanne is Deputy State Deputy State Health Officer and Deputy State Epidemiologist with the Oregon Health Authority.

Jeanne explained that the COVID-19 pandemic has “placed incredible strain” on our health care system, with RSV further straining systems. Influenza will only add to this burden. He added that good respiratory hygiene and masking indoors remain best practice prevention tactics against all three of the viruses.

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Tiffany joined the KLCC News team in 2007. She studied journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia and has worked in a variety of media including television and daily print news. For KLCC, Tiffany reports on health care, social justice and local/regional news. She has won awards from Oregon Associated Press, PRNDI, and Education Writers Association.