It is indeed ironic to be an accurate forecaster. Ironic when that forecast affects you and your family.
In the last 7-10 days, we experienced a surge in respiratory disease affecting our pediatric patients, including transmission involving entire families with pneumonia in multiple instances that included two of our staff's families... and my own. Three of our staff were infected, and yours truly was forced to go half-day on Friday and take Monday off. My partner had to absorb the patient load, then she herself caught it.
Testing has been negative for influenza, RSV, and pertussis. Clinical findings range from URI to pneumonia with a viral presentation. We have seen both croup and reactive airway / asthma exacerbation including hospital admissions.
This clinical entity and severity was forecasted in late December. Notably, non-RSV / non-influenza etiologies also forecasted included human metapneumovirus (HMPV), a pathogen described only in the last 7 years as an ubiquitous respiratory virus clinically indistinguishable from RSV. This virus is a well known trigger of reactive airway / asthma exacerbation and does cause croup. Pneumonia is more frequently diagnosed in children with hMPV infection than RSV... and we are certainly seeing quite a bit of pneumonia.
This morning we received report from a key diagnostic lab they have molecular diagnostic confirmation of a notable increase in hMPV activity. Therefore, we believe it most likely the recent surge in non-RSV non-flu respiratory disease activity and clinical severity in our county is most likely due to hMPV, which is a validated forecast issued by the Black Canyon Forecasting Station in late December.
While a validated forecast should make us thrilled, we are reminded by one of our partners who is a meteorologist to "root for the humans, not the disease". I'm thinking about this comment as I continue to cough up a lung full of phlegm...