Hospitals are reporting a surge in cases of the respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, in young children all across the United States. This is the worse RSV season that doctors have seen in several years. High numbers of cases are being seen earlier in the year than they would normally.
RSV causes cold-like symptoms for most people. However, for children under one year old and seniors, it can lead to more serious conditions such as bronchiolitis or pneumonia. Figures from the CDC confirm that the condition can be fatal in up to 300 children every year.
It is not known for sure what is causing this increase in cases. It could be that natural immunity to the disease is low because of the social distancing rules that were in place during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some vaccines are almost ready to be reviewed by the FDA, although they will not be approved in time to help to deal with the outbreak that is happening this winter. If a vaccine is approved, then it will be the first new treatment for RSV that has been developed for more than 20 years.