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The RS virus season started in Austria in early October with isolated cases. The Austrian RSV network from the Center for Virology (MedUni Vienna) is now reporting “epidemiological activity”. This means: The seasonal RSV wave has reached Austria in full force. The accumulation of RSV infections this year is unusually high, as Ernst Eber, head of the LKH University Clinic of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, confirmed to the Kleine Zeitung. RSV is currently the main diagnosis in the outpatient and inpatient departments of the children’s hospital. According to the children’s hospital, there is an exponential increase in cases, and health workers in wards are struggling with an increase of more than 15 to 20 percent due to RSV.

RSV – what is it actually?

ANSWER: RSV is short for Respiratory Syncytial Virus. It is a seasonal virus that can cause upper and lower respiratory tract diseases. Most cases fall during the cold season, similar to the true flu (influenza). In principle, infections can affect all age groups, severe courses occur mainly in infants and young children. Premature babies are particularly at risk, as are children with heart defects. Adults with pre-existing illnesses or weakened immune systems are also at risk.

According to current estimates, RSV respiratory disease occurs worldwide with a frequency of 48.5 cases and 5.6 serious cases per 1000 children in the first year of life. By the end of the second year of life, nearly all children have had at least one RSV infection. Re-infections are common, but the initial infection is usually the most severe.

What are the symptoms of RSV?

ANSWER: RSV primarily triggers respiratory diseases, causing inflammation of the upper respiratory tract as well as the lower respiratory tract. The spectrum ranges from a simple cold (usually in adults) to a serious illness that requires ventilation. As mentioned above, the course of the disease in children is usually more severe. RSV can trigger a particular form of inflammation in the lungs known as bronchiolitis. It is not unusual for infants and young children to require intensive care and CPR for this reason. However, the prognosis is generally good.

In the course of the disease, cold, cough and also inflammation of the throat become noticeable first. After a few days, the infection may eventually spread to the lower respiratory tract, causing breathing difficulties. Symptoms that parents should watch out for may also be fatigue, difficulty breathing, and pauses in breathing. Even if babies do not drink as well as usual, you should clarify the situation with a pediatrician.

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