According to doctors, the infection is most often manifested by an increase in temperature and the appearance of a cough and a runny nose. However, in some cases, it can lead to respiratory distress, one of the types of respiratory failure, and bronchiolitis — a disease affecting the lower branches of the bronchi. The number of cases most often increases in winter, but there are already more such patients today than usual.
Doctors believe that the COVID-19 pandemic indirectly affected the increase in the number of RSV cases. Last winter, pediatricians almost did not detect those infected with the respiratory syncytial virus or even seasonal flu due to restrictions on the coronavirus, in particular the ban on mass events. However, after the easing of some measures, a continuous rise in the incidence began: since the end of March, it has been growing for 12 weeks in parallel with cases of the delta strain SARS-CoV-2.
The Children’s National Hospital, located in the U.S. capital, reported that according to statistics, there are twice as many patients with RSV-induced bronchiolitis in the intensive care unit as there are COVID-19 patients. In turn, pediatrician Dan Finkelstein from Capitol Medical Group noted that many parents have questions about the connection between the coronavirus and the respiratory syncytial virus. According to the doctor, RSV has not become more dangerous than it was before, but doctors now have to treat patients with both this virus and COVID-19.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, RSV is the most common cause of pneumonia in children under one-year-old. When the infection penetrates deep into the lungs, patients often experience breathing difficulties and may need hospitalization and an oxygen mask.