Cases of RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) and other respiratory illnesses have been surging throughout the United States. While recent headlines have been focusing on how children infected with RSV have been filling hospitals to capacity, older adults are also being hospitalized at a rate that is unusually high compared with previous years.

Latest data (as of the week ending November 5) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that seniors ages 65 and up with RSV are filling hospital beds at a weekly rate of 1.6 per 100,000. Since the 2014–2015 season, CDC figures show that this hospitalization rate had not risen above 1 per 100,000. In 2018 at this same time of year, seniors with RSV were being admitted to the hospital at a low 0.2 per 100,000 — 8 times lower than the current rate.

Still, young children is the population most affected by RSV. Among infants ages 0 to 6 months, 145.2 per 100,000 are being hospitalized weekly, according to latest federal government numbers. For those ages 6 to 12 months with the virus, the rate is 63 per 100,000.

The Yolo County Health Department in California is warning all residents that RSV can be serious, especially in infants and older adults, causing pneumonia (lung infection) and bronchiolitis (inflammation of the small airways in the lung).

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