For more than a year now, Covid-19 was the only virus people from different parts of the world discussed. Millions of people got affected, and thousands died. However, Coronavirus is finally fading; but sadly, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is gradually encroaching in our lives. This virus makes its presence felt during the winter season.
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has already issued an advisory regarding the sudden spike of RSV. Authorities have also warned public health officials that it might spread across the country.
RSV Is Deadly
While RSV and COVID-19 might have similar symptoms, RSV affects both senior citizens and young children. According to CDC, every year, over 58,000 kids below 5 years of age are hospitalized, resulting in approximately 500 deaths. Senior citizens above 65 are highly susceptible to this virus. Every year, there are approximately 1,77,000 hospitalizations, resulting in 14,000 deaths.
RSV Affects New Born Babies Too
Even newborn babies aren’t spared by this virus. The virus affects the lungs of these babies, leading to lung infection or bronchiolitis. Out of every 100 babies, at least 2 end up being hospitalized. Given the severe nature of the virus, some babies are even placed on a mechanical ventilator.
Health Officials Are Prepared
According to various leading health officials, it is unusual to see a sudden spike in RSV cases during this season. Typically, RSV marks its presence during the fall and winter. It often coincides with the flu season. However, the silver lining is that the health officials weren’t caught off guard as they were closely monitoring the RSV cases in Australia. Since Australia comes in the Southern Hemisphere, so health officials in the U.S. often get an early warning.
The summer season in Australia marked a sudden spike in RSV cases. They had all the preventive measures in place due to COVID-19, so there were minimal causalities in Australia due to RSV. The U.S. health officials are also confident that they will be able to minimize the outbreak of this virus because this time around, they are one step ahead.
Reason For A Sudden Spike
Recently, there has also been a rise in the number of cases related to other such seasonal respiratory viruses. Although some of these viruses have already peaked, there is still time before RSV peaks. There are various reasons for the spike in the RSV cases, so it is difficult to point out one single cause for the rise.
Some experts believe that one reason could be the ever-decreasing number of people not wearing marks and avoiding social distancing. In other words, as the cases have subsided, most of the COVID-19 precautionary measures have gone for a toss.
It is interesting to note that when the country was under lockdown, and there were serious restrictions in place, RSV cases dropped considerably. Seasonal flu was also nonexistent throughout the year. However, when the restrictions were removed, people lowered their guard and thus became susceptible to all kinds of seasonal viruses.
The Bottom Line
Unlike other season flu, the respiratory syncytial virus is deadlier. We already know that every year it typically begins during the fall and continues until spring. While most people contracting this virus experience mild fever, there are others who end up suffering from serious complications like bronchiolitis. It is also responsible for thousands of deaths across the country.
Since RSV is contagious, so people should always wear masks and maintain social distancing. Some other preventive measures include frequently washing hands and maintaining distance from people who are sick. These measures will go a long way in limiting the spread of this virus.