While COVID-19 continues, a new surge in cases of another respiratory illness has doctors alarmed. A summer spike in instances of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) has spread across the country even though the virus usually circulates in the fall and winter months, peaking in February.
Some 58,000 children under 5 years of age are hospitalized with RSV every year in the United States. For those younger than 1 year, it’s the No. 1 cause of hospitalization, says Ethan S. Wiener, MD, clinical associate professor in the Ronald O. Perelman Department of Emergency Medicine and Department of Pediatrics, director of the Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine and chief of service for the KiDS Emergency Department.
The virus is quite contagious and can survive on hard surfaces for many hours. “Parents of school-aged children should not be overly worried. While older children can get infected, severe cases of RSV are mainly a concern for children under 2 years,” says Jennifer L. Lighter, MD, pediatric infectious disease specialist and hospital epidemiologist at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone. Infants are most at risk, she tells The New York Times, especially those who were born prematurely or have heart, lung, or neuromuscular diseases.
Washing with soap and warm water and wiping down with disinfectants are good ways to keep surfaces and objects clean. “In the vast majority of cases, it’s really a matter of keeping the kid comfortable, much as you would with a cold, and watching for any progression of symptoms,” says Dr. Wiener.
Read more from The New York Times.