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As COVID-19 wears off, health experts warn of another virus, RSV

As COVID-19 wears off, officials warn of an increase in a different respiratory virus – typically a problem during the cold fall and winter season – that could make a comeback as spring fades in summer.

In a notice published by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and circulated by Los Angeles County public health officials, authorities warned of the recent increase in RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, in southern United States.

RSV produces symptoms similar to COVID-19 and can cause serious illness not only in the elderly but also in young children. On an annual basis, RSV causes 58,000 hospitalizations in children under 5, resulting in 100 to 500 deaths; and 177,000 hospitalizations among people aged 65 and older, resulting in 14,000 deaths, the CDC said.

RSV is the most common cause in babies under one year of age of two types of lung disease: pneumonia, an infection of the lungs, and bronchiolitis, which is inflammation of the small airways in the lungs. Out of 100 children under six months of age, one or two require hospitalization and may need to be placed on a mechanical ventilator, according to the CDC.

Nationwide RSV infections fell dramatically about 14 months ago, as states imposed stay-at-home orders due to the emerging COVID-19 pandemic, and RSV levels remained weak until about three months ago. But since late March, federal officials have reported an increase in RSV cases in parts of the South.

“Due to the reduced circulation of RSV during the winter months of 2020-2021, older infants and toddlers may now be at increased risk for serious disease associated with RSV because they likely do not have had typical RSV exposure levels over the past 15 months, ”the CDC said.

Authorities have urged health care providers to increase RSV testing in patients with respiratory illnesses who test negative for the coronavirus. Authorities have also said it is important for people to stay home when they are sick, and that is especially important for workers in health care, day care centers and long-term care facilities.

In infants under six months of age, symptoms of RSV can include irritability, poor nutrition, lethargy or apnea – periodic panting during sleep – according to the CDC.

In older infants and young children, symptoms may start with a runny nose and decreased appetite, followed one to three days later by a cough, then sneezing, fever and sometimes wheezing. .

In adults, the disease may present with a runny nose, sore throat, cough, headache, fatigue and fever.





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