According to the Centers for Disease Control, the number of respiratory syncytial virus started rising two months ago. The number of pediatric cases in particular is increasing quickly. National Taiwan University Hospital has seen pediatric RSV cases rise by close to 20 percent, with three to five children hospitalized every day. Doctors say RSV can cause shortness of breath and respiratory distress, and children under two are considered high-risk.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the number of pediatric RSV cases has increased from 18 to 118 cases a week since September. National Taiwan University Hospital has seen pediatric RSV cases rise by close to 20 percent, with three to five children hospitalized every day. On average, RSV-related hospital stays last five to seven days.
Huang Li-min, Epidemiologist, National Taiwan University Children's Hospital: “Some children require high-flow oxygen or have to be put on respirators in the ICU once they are hospitalized. RSV has been the greatest viral threat to children in Taiwan since September.”
RSV generally strikes between fall and the following spring, and is mainly spread through airborne droplets or contact. The incubation period lasts two to eight days and infection presents with cold-like symptoms such as fever, cough, and runny nose. Due to sputum in the lungs, infected people often find themselves wheezing and eventually end up in respiratory distress. Children under two are considered high-risk.
Chiang Kuan-yu, Doctor, Taipei City Hospital Zhongxing Branch: “Asthma or respiratory discomfort is particularly dangerous for children due to their smaller respiratory tracts.”
Doctors say Taiwan may be hit with numerous infectious viruses this winter including COVID-19, RSV, the flu, and pneumonia, and the death rate increases eight times with compound infections. Therefore, everyone should continue to wear masks and wash their hands frequently.