There’s Another Virus On The Rise

There’s Another Virus On The Rise

Early versions of COVID-19 largely spared children but the delta variant proved to be much less discriminating, and has led to more child hospitalizations. Now, health care workers on the front lines say there is another frightening prospect looming: a surge in children diagnosed with a combination of COVID-19 and respiratory syncytial virus.

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Pediatric hospitals in Texas — and around the country — are reporting unseasonably early outbreaks of RSV, a respiratory virus that mostly manifests as a mild illness with cold-like symptoms in adults but that can cause pneumonia and bronchiolitis in very young children. The CDC reports it can be life-threatening in infants and young adults.

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At Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston on Thursday, 25 of 45 hospitalized pediatric patients were diagnosed with RSV as well as COVID-19. “A hospitalization rate much higher than for either virus alone,” according to officials.

At the moment there is little data available on the impact of contracting both viruses and whether the two together can make a person sicker. But health officials worry it could put young patients — who are not eligible for the vaccine — at greater risk.

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