Tech & Science dictionary


[ trip-uhl-dem-ik ]

What is a tripledemic?

Tripledemic is an informal term referring to a simultaneous increase in cases of COVID-19, influenza (the flu), and respiratory syncytial virus (commonly known as RSV).

The similar term twindemic has been used to refer to a (potential) simultaneous large-scale outbreak of the flu and COVID-19. Both twindemic and tripledemic refer to spread among a population (not necessarily the presence of multiple diseases in the same people at the same time). Though both words are used by some health and medical officials, they are both informal terms (as opposed to technical terms used in the field of epidemiology).

The term tripledemic gained use at the end of 2022, particularly among medical and health professionals and in media reports discussing the potential for the simultaneous spread of the viral diseases and its impact on public health and healthcare facilities. Such reports often included advice for preventing such spread, such as wearing masks, getting vaccinated, and following hygiene practices.

Related words

twindemic, vaccine hesitancy, flurona, Deltacron

Where does tripledemic come from?

vaccine vials, blue filter

The term tripledemic gained use in late 2022 specifically in reference to a simultaneous increase in the spread of three different viral diseases: COVID-19, the flu, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), all three of which are highly contagious. The word is a combination of the word triple (a reference to the three separate diseases) and the ending -demic, particularly as it’s used in the words pandemic and epidemic.

The term tripledemic started to gain use in October 2022, particularly in news articles stating that medical experts were observing simultaneous increases of COVID-19, influenza, and RSV.

Influenza and COVID-19 both have a history of increased infection rates during the winter months, and it’s common for RSV cases to increase early in the year (in 2022, this occurred even earlier, starting before the New Year). The simultaneous increase has been attributed to various possible factors, including vaccine hesitancy and weakened immune systems due isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Examples of tripledemic

CVS and Walgreens are limiting how many children’s pain relief medications people can buy at once amid a winter “tripledemic” of respiratory viruses, the companies said Monday.
Courtney Brogle and Tim Stelloh, NBC News, December 2022
I just wanna put it out there that the tripledemic rn with flu, rsv, and covid is no joke. 18 total people have called out or left my place of work JUST TODAY due to being sick. Please, please protect yourself. Good masks with good seals, distance, handwashing, u name it
@release_thehag, December 15, 2022

Who uses tripledemic?

The word tripledemic first gained widespread use in late 2022, particularly in media reports about public health warnings about the simultaneous spread of separate viral diseases at the time. Though it is used by some public health and medical officials, it is an informal term.

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This is not meant to be a formal definition of tripledemic like most terms we define on, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of tripledemic that will help our users expand their word mastery.