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Health

Flu on the rise as RSV infections could peak, US health officials say

Nature

The flu is gaining momentum while RSV lung infections, which can hit children and the elderly hard, could peak, US health authorities said on Friday.

However, Covid continues to cause the most hospitalizations and deaths among respiratory illnesses — about 15,000 hospitalizations and about 1,000 deaths each week, said Dr. Mandy Cohen, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The agency is also looking into reports of childhood pneumonia outbreaks in two states, but it said “there is no evidence” that they are due to anything unusual.

Looking ahead to flu season, seven states were reporting high levels of flu-like illnesses in early November. In a new CDC report Friday, the agency said the count stood at 11 states, mostly in the South and Southwest.

Over the past month, RSV infections have increased sharply in some parts of the country, nearly filling hospital emergency departments in Georgia, Texas and some other states. But “we believe we are close to the peak of the RSV season or will be within the next week,” Cohen said.

RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, is a common cause of mild cold-like symptoms, but it can be dangerous for infants and the elderly.

Cohen was asked about cases of childhood pneumonia reported in Massachusetts and Warren County, Ohio, near Cincinnati. There are a number of possible causes for lung infection, and it could be a complication of Covid, the flu, or RSV.

In Ohio, health officials have reported 145 cases since August and most children have recovered at home. The illnesses were caused by a variety of common viruses and bacteria, officials said.

China has recently seen a rise in respiratory illnesses, which health officials have attributed to the flu and other common causes.

Nature

Gn Health

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