A new epidemic particularly affecting children: what is RSV?
In the past few years, we as a humanity have experienced one of the most turbulent periods of our time. The COVID-19 pandemic has had an extremely negative impact on all of humanity. The evolution of the virus to a less lethal form and vaccines have helped ease pandemic restrictions around the world. However, it is wrong to say that the coronavirus has completely disappeared. However, public health experts say that as the winter months approach, new outbreaks are starting to emerge along with COVID-19: influenza and RSV!
RSV infection is known to have increased significantly in recent years. The disease, which stands for “respiratory syncytial virus”, causes respiratory infections and severely affects infants, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems. So what exactly is RSV, what are its symptoms, and how is it transmitted? Here’s what you need to know about the new epidemic of the recent period, which especially affects children and the elderly…
RSV, a virus that causes upper respiratory infections, like the flu.
However, it can be fatal, especially for infants, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems. According to the US Centers for Disease Prevention, 117,000 elderly people are admitted to the hospital every year because of this virus, and 14,000 people die due to the disease.
What are the symptoms?
Many people infected with RSV show symptoms similar to those of a cold or flu. The most common symptoms of the virus are runny nose, nasal congestion, sore throat and cough. However, when left untreated, it can spread to the lower respiratory tract and cause pneumonia or various pneumonias. In such cases, indicating an exacerbation of the infection, a cough with sputum may be observed.
How is RSV transmitted?
Like other respiratory infections, RSV is highly contagious. It can be transmitted through coughing, sneezing or kissing. However, it is known that the virus can enter the body through the eyes, nose or mouth. It can also be transmitted to people who touch their face after coming into contact with infected surfaces.
Those who contract the virus continue to transmit the disease for 3-8 days.
However, according to scientific studies, this period is longer in infants and immunocompromised people. Experts state that infected infants and people with weak immune systems continue to shed the virus for up to 4 weeks.
Disease; poses a high risk for people with weakened immune systems, people over 65, and people with chronic diseases
The fact that older people have less lung capacity makes them a priority at risk. In people who already have heart disease, asthma, or chronic lung disease, RSV can make their symptoms worse. In people with weak immune systems, the effects of the virus can be much more severe.
RSV is also extremely dangerous for babies.
According to experts, almost all children become infected with RSV by the age of 2 years. Most babies outgrow the illness, showing flu-like symptoms. However, the virus can cause severe bronchitis or pneumonia in infants. Therefore, RSV is extremely dangerous for babies as well…
RSV turned into an epidemic with colder weather
According to experts, the number of cases of influenza has increased significantly. On the other hand, the coronavirus epidemic is not over. The fact that these three diseases affect many people at the same time has given rise to a new term recently: the triple epidemic!
According to experts, the pandemic restrictions of recent years have influenced the transformation of infection into an epidemic.
Masks and social distancing measures implemented during the peak periods of the Covid-19 pandemic have significantly reduced both influenza and RSV infection. However, with the easing of restrictions, a significant increase in the incidence of influenza and RSV began.
Even before the pandemic, thousands of children were known to be hospitalized with RSV. It is now claimed that the health care system has begun to struggle due to cases of RSV in some countries such as the United States.
Children, in particular, during the pandemic could not develop immunity to infection. This situation also played a role in the transformation of RSV into an epidemic.
During the pandemic, full-time education was suspended in many countries around the world. This is why millions of children around the world have not developed immunity to many diseases such as RSV.
Children returning to schools after easing pandemic measures are vulnerable to the virus, experts say. This situation leads to the fact that both children are affected more than usual, and the virus turns into an epidemic. On the other hand, some experts fear that the epidemic will worsen in the winter months.
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