California sees increase in RSV, a respiratory illness that can be dangerous for babies and infants, especially in winter months
A new study has found that the prevalence of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) in California has increased, with the state seeing about two-thirds of its cases in winter, according to the study published in the journal, BMC Public Health.
The state currently has a high prevalence of RSV – at 14.2 per cent – and a high incidence of the virus, with 22.4 per cent of the patients requiring hospitalization.
A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that the prevalence of RSV in California (2.25%) is higher than that in Ohio (1.98%), Massachusetts (1.99%) and Minnesota (1.96%).
The study also showed high percentage of hospitalization among the cases (66 %), and that the state has high hospitalization rate when compared to other US states.
“The number of young infants (less than 6 months old) admitted to the hospital over the past year has increased steadily and significantly in San Joaquin County, California,” said the study.
As a result of this increase the state’s public health agencies have taken action to prepare for its upcoming winter season, which may lead to an increase in RSV cases. San Joaquin County Public Health has been prepared to better educate residents on the signs and symptoms of RSV disease, and to prepare in case RSV season brings an increased prevalence.
The study also said that although RSV can cause serious respiratory illness, there is currently no vaccine available.
“RSV infection can lead to serious complications in young infants and young children, especially in the winter months,” said Dr. Margaret Chan, the director of the CDC. The study revealed that RSV season is typically from September until April, but that California has seen the peak of RSV cases sometime between January and February.
“The epidemic might be beginning to taper off in November,” said Dr. Chan. “In our study, we found that RSV activity was highest in November, with a decline in the RSV incidence to a low level by January.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which includes the U.S. Department of Health