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Ireland has seen record levels of RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) in recent years

DUBLIN – Cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) have recently increased significantly in Ireland. The virus, which previously only affected infants, has recently become a serious threat to adults.

It is a problem in people over the age of 65. It is suspected that the cause of this may be COVID. Health experts have not yet clarified the reason for the increase in the spread of the disease this year. It is thought to be related to COVID as well. Some research also shows a change in the seasonality of RSV infections.

Every year in the United States, 60,000 young children are hospitalised with RSV. The HSE has expressed concern about the increasing number of RSV cases.

Vaccines against RSV are just being developed, and none have been approved yet, so preventative measures are the best way to avoid infection, says Jennifer Girotto, clinical professor of pharmacy practise at the University of Connecticut.

RSV (respiratory syncytial virus)

RSV is a common RNA respiratory virus that affects 2 million children under the age of five each year in the United States. The most vulnerable are two-year-old’s. Like the flu, most areas of the United States experience the disease from November to March.

Infants are at the greatest risk.

In adults, the virus causes only mild symptoms such as a cough, runny nose, and fever, but in young children, shortness of breath and loss of appetite are also common.

The virus can cause serious complications in children under the age of six months, premature babies, and those with other health issues such as heart and lung problems. On average, 250 children die from the disease each year, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One to two percent of infants under the age of six months who have RSV require hospitalisation.

This is how the virus spreads.

The virus infects and destroys the surface cells of the lungs’ small sacs. The body responds by increasing mucus and fluid production in these areas. Thus, the baby will not receive adequate oxygen.
RSV can also cause pneumonia, and some babies will refuse to eat. If they don’t get enough nutrients, they end up in the hospital. 

Causes of disease

People with colds and flu are infected when they touch unclean surfaces or cough or sneeze from their noses. Young children and people at high risk should avoid close contact with people with colds until they are better, the HSE warned.

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