U.S. health officials reported on Friday that the flu is gaining momentum, while respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infections may be reaching their peak. These illnesses can severely affect children and older adults.
However, COVID-19 continues to cause the most hospitalizations and deaths among all respiratory diseases, with about 15,000 weekly hospital admissions and roughly 1,000 fatalities each week, according to Dr. Mandy Cohen, who heads up the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC has been investigating reports of pneumonia outbreaks in children across two states, but there’s no evidence suggesting they are due to any unusual causes, as per Dr.Cohen.
In terms of this year’s influenza season, seven U.S. states were reporting high levels of flu-like illnesses during early November; however, a recent update from the CDC indicated an increase by four additional states, bringing the total count to eleven, mostly located within the Southwestern region of the country.
Over the past month, RSV infection rates have seen a sharp rise in certain parts of the nation, leading to near-full occupancy of emergency departments in hospitals situated in Georgia, Texas, and a few other places. Although current trends suggest we might be nearing the peak phase or could reach it in the coming weeks, added Ms.Cohen.
Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), known for commonly causing mild symptoms resembling the common cold, potentially poses serious risk to infants and the elderly population.
When asked specifically about cases related to child pneumonia being recorded in Massachusetts, Warren County, Ohio (near Cincinnati), she explained that numerous potential factors contribute to the development of lung-based infections, which include possible complications arising from contracting COVID-19, flu, or even RSV itself.
Health authorities based in Ohio confirmed that since August onwards, they witnessed around 145 such instances, in which the majority of kids managed to recover home without requiring medical intervention. These ailments caused a mix of usual viruses and bacteria in the environment. On similar lines, the Health Department of Massachusetts observed a modest surge in the number of pediatric patients diagnosed with pneumonia, which is deemed normal considering the ongoing seasonal changes taking place presently.