A familiar respiratory virus is finding a foothold in the U.S. as the Covid-19 pandemic eases and people take fewer precautions: respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV.
Health authorities and pediatricians said they are recording an unseasonably high number of RSV cases, which are typically more common in the fall and winter. Infections of RSV and influenza were way down last season, officials said, likely because of distancing, face-mask wearing and hygiene measures to contain Covid-19.
“The things we were doing to protect ourselves from getting Covid are also excellent at preventing us from getting flu and RSV,” said Chulie Ulloa, a pediatric infectious disease specialist and assistant professor at the UC Irvine School of Medicine. “As everything is relaxing, we’re probably going to see an uptick in some of these common infections that we normally see outside of a pandemic.”
RSV is an easily transmissible virus that infects the respiratory tract. It is so common that nearly all children have a run-in with the virus by the age of two, health authorities say. Adults also catch and spread the virus as well, and people can get reinfected. The virus spreads through droplets from coughing and sneezing and on surfaces.