Rise of RSV virus in children raises fears it could lead to the spread of serious lung disease

Doctors are reporting an early rise in children of a potentially serious virus that is a major cause of lung infections and can lead to pneumonia or bronchiolitis.

50 cases of RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) were reported last week, compared to 20 in the same week last year.

“This could be an indicator of an early RSV season,” the Health Protection Surveillance Center (HPSC) said.

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.

According to the HPSC, there has been an RSV outbreak at a children’s hospital in the past few weeks, and most cases are aged four years and younger.

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.

However, parents should seek medical advice if the child is not feeding normally, is breathing rapidly, or has a high temperature that does not go down.

While hospitals brace for a potentially bad flu season based on Australia’s experience, the latest evidence suggests it’s still at low levels in Ireland.

In August and earlier this month there were 26 confirmed cases of flu in hospital, two of which were admitted to intensive care last month. A death of a patient with the flu was reported in early August.

The flu vaccine will be rolled out starting next month.

There were 242 patients hospitalized with Covid-19 yesterday, 10 of whom were in intensive care, one of the lowest numbers of the pandemic.

The seven-day positivity rate for PCR tests is 11.3 percent, which is stable, but the next few weeks will tell if there are any changes as schools reopen and colder weather approaches.

Last week, the highest rate of confirmed cases was among those aged 35 to 44, who accounted for 18.1 percent of infections. The second highest was for the 45 to 54 year olds.

The county with the highest incidence rate was Donegal, followed by Limerick, Cavan, Kerry, Tipperary, Leitrim, Sligo, Offaly, Roscommon and Louth.

The district with the lowest incidence rate was Clare, followed by Meath, Galway, Mayo, Wexford, Kildare, Wicklow and Westmeath.

The data comes as pressure on hospitals mounts.

Figures from the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) showed yesterday that 910,073 people were on some form of public hospital waiting list at the end of last month. This beats the previous record of 909,900 set in September last year.

The Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA) said waiting lists could rise by over 20,000 this year, rather than the targeted reduction of 132,000, despite a €350m action plan.

Almost 50,000 people were removed from waiting lists without treatment in the first six months of 2022.

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/health/surge-in-rsv-virus-in-children-sparks-fears-it-may-lead-to-spread-of-serious-lung-illness-41977755.html Rise of RSV virus in children raises fears it could lead to the spread of serious lung disease

Fry Electronics Team

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