The latest state to experience an uptick in respiratory syncytial virus incidence in California. The California Department of Public Health announced Monday that a kid under five had died in the state due to the flu and RSV. State Public Health Officer and CDPH Director Dr Tomás Aragón said, “Our hearts go out to the family of this young child.”
“This unfortunate occurrence serves as a sobering reminder that respiratory viruses can be fatal, particularly in young children and newborns. With the emergence of RSV, the flu, and COVID-19, the winter virus season is starting to get busy.”
The virus spreads to the lower respiratory tract, causing pneumonia (lung infection) and bronchiolitis (lung inflammation), which can have serious side effects in infants under the age of one year. Aragón urged parents to keep in mind simple preventative measures like routine hand washing, mask use, and staying in the house when ill.
The CDPH advised parents to protect their children with the seasonal influenza vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccine, even though there are currently no vaccines to prevent RSV infections. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a health advisory alert in November due to increased RSV detections, ER visits, and RSV-related hospitalizations.
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The research said some places indicated near the seasonal peak levels typically seen in December or January. RSV-related hospitalization rates also increased this year, starting in the late spring and continuing through the summer and into early October.
Dr Elizabeth Murray, a paediatrician who specializes in Pediatric Emergency Medicine and Child Health Advocacy and is a member of PEOPLE’s Health Squad, said that while the reason why it’s spreading now is unclear, it probably has something to do with the reasons why RSV and influenza weren’t as prevalent last winter: masking, separating, and good handwashing. “We can anticipate germs returning as soon as those protections start to fade.”