A month before the start of autumn in the northern hemisphere, several hospitals in the United States present a high number of patients affected by the Respiratory Syncytial Virus and what is alarming for doctors is that they are mostly babies and children.
This virus, also known as RSV, causes respiratory tract infection and generally occurs in regions with temperate climates during the winter months. However, states like Washington and Colorado are experiencing what looks like becoming a health crisis.
Although in most cases, RSV produces only minor symptoms, indistinguishable from a common cold, in certain patients with immune problems or low defenses, it can cause bronchiolitis, producing a serious respiratory condition that requires hospitalization, as it can be fatal.
The high point is that throughout the year hospitals have been fighting intensely against cases of COVID, rhinovirus and flu, which has reduced the number of staff.
An expected winter rise in Covid cases appears poised to collide with a resurgent flu season and a third virus, RSV, which is straining pediatric hospitals in some states. It could all lead to a "tripledemic." https://t.co/pNpVDS9vhd— The New York Times (@nytimes) October 23, 2022
According to information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the last two months, RSV cases detected by Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests have tripled.
Information released by The Washington Post and the Axios site indicates that Institutions such as the Children's National Hospital in Washington, DC, is almost full of patients affected by RSV and that the Children's Hospital Colorado is experiencing a similar pattern, as it has also been filling up of sick children.
For its part, CNN mentions that Juan Salazar, chief physician Connecticut Children's Medical Center in Hartford, executive vice president and chief physician of the hospital, is surprised by the high number of children hospitalized in said health institution.
“I've been doing this for a long time. I have been with Connecticut Children's for 25 years and have never seen this level of increase in specific RSV cases at our hospital. I think for the next four to eight weeks, we have to be careful,” she acknowledged.
Also, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) does not specify the reason for hospitalizations, but notes that about three-quarters of available pediatric hospital beds across the country are full.
Because there is no vaccine for RSV, the way to avoid getting it is to avoid close contact with people who are coughing or sneezing. In the best of cases, it is advisable to continue wearing masks, wash your hands frequently with soap and water, and keep frequently touched surfaces clean.