Concerns about a sharp rise in virus cases, which can lead to serious illness in children

A potentially serious virus in children that is a cause of lung infections and can lead to pneumonia or bronchiolitis is rising, with weekly cases doubling compared to last month.

14 cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) were reported last week, up from 101 in the same week in 2021 and double the number in early September.

The Health Protection Surveillance Center has reported a steady increase in RSV cases over the past few weeks, and this could be an indicator of an early RSV season similar to 2021 that has been particularly intense.

It’s a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild cold-like symptoms, and most people recover in a week or two. However, it can be serious, especially for infants and older adults.

It is an important cause of severe respiratory disease in children under the age of two and the leading cause of hospitalization for acute respiratory disease in the very young.

Last autumn, children’s hospitals in Dublin came under pressure from surges in RSV, leading to the cancellation of elective surgeries.

Two outbreaks have been reported in recent weeks, one at a hospital and the other at a private home.

Parents are urged to watch out for symptoms, which usually start with a stuffy or runny nose and can lead to a dry cough, fever and sometimes trouble breathing.

It is mild in most children and can be treated at home with infant paracetamol or ibuprofen.

In the meantime, sporadic cases of flu have been diagnosed here so far, but they are still below baseline levels amid fears of a sharp spread this winter.

From September 5 to October 2, 34 patients with the flu were hospitalized and two were admitted to intensive care.

One person with the flu died during this period. A flu outbreak has been reported in a private hospital and nursing home.

Separately, the HSE Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Program now offers a free national online service. It offers people aged 17 and over living in Ireland the opportunity to be tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) at home.

A free STI test kit can be ordered on the online platform. It will be delivered to your home by post.

Users perform the tests at home and send the samples to the lab in the prepaid envelope provided.

Individuals will receive their results via text or phone, and those who need further testing and treatment will be referred to participating public STI clinics to ensure a seamless experience.

This new service is generally best for people who don’t have symptoms of an STI. Anyone experiencing symptoms of an STI is advised to see an STI clinic or their GP for evaluation.

Professor Fiona Lyons, Sexual Health Clinical Director, said: “This is an important step in improving access and capacity for STI testing.

“It provides individuals with greater choice, encourages self-care, and overcomes many barriers to STI testing and integrates the service into public STI clinics.” Concerns about a sharp rise in virus cases, which can lead to serious illness in children

Fry Electronics Team

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