A virus common among young children is surging in the U.S. and sparking concerns that hospitals could become overwhelmed this year by potential winter spikes in both the flu and COVID-19.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is extremely common, with nearly everyone having been exposed to the pathogen by the time they’re 2 years old. Younger children, especially those less than 6 months old, have the highest risk of developing severe cases that could lead to hospitalization.
At St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., where he is based, Diego Hijano, an infectious disease specialist, said he is seeing an equal amount of COVID-19, flu and RSV cases.
“That’s concerning, you know, because it will definitely overwhelm the emergency department and the health care system as these trends continue,” said Hijano.
- Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that more than 4,000 cases of RSV are being reported each week recently, similar to the last major surge, which was experienced in the summer of 2021.
What can be done for RSV: There are currently no vaccines available for the virus, and the only treatment is monoclonal antibodies, usually reserved for extremely high-risk cases, including infants born prematurely or those with chronic diseases related to the heart and lungs.
With no vaccines available for the virus and only one viable treatment, the infectious disease specialists who spoke with The Hill said the best way for parents to approach this season of respiratory viral spread is to limit and prevent potential exposure in general.
Read more here.