Cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) have been prevailing among children in Shanghai in recent days, with the proportion diagnosed with RSV surpassing those of COVID-19 and influenza, due to expanded area of human activities after China downgraded COVID-19 management, medical experts noted.
RSV, a virus that causes similar symptoms to those caused by COVID-19 and influenza, including fever, coughing, sore throat and pains in muscles, has caused panic among parents in Shanghai recently for the sufferings it causes to their children, with many parents sharing their children’s struggle with the disease online, including severe cough, attack of asthma and pneumonia, Shanghai Observer reported on Sunday.
According to Cao Qing, director of infectious disease from Shanghai Children’s Medical Center, the proportion of children admitted to the hospital with RSV has surpassed that of COVID-19 and influenza, with half showing the symptom of wheezing.
However, experts also noted that RSV is a self-limited disease which can be dealt with by common treatment and parents do not need to panic.
According to the expert, people of all ages can contract the disease but children, the elderly and people with weakened immunity systems are the high-risk groups.
The incubation period of the disease is usually between two and eight days after contracting the disease. Early infection of the disease is mostly confined to the upper respiratory tract, with clinical manifestations such as nasal congestion, runny nose, cough and hoarseness.
Most symptoms in children with RSV infection resolve spontaneously within one to two weeks. Only a small number can develop into infection to lower respiratory tract, with major manifestations such as bronchiolitis or pneumonia. Such cases are most commonly seen in infants under the age of 2. And very few cases can be further aggravated with shortness of breath and feeding difficulties.
According to the expert, RSV can spread by infected patients with or without symptoms through contact transmission or coughing and sneezing. Thus, the disease usually prevails in winter and spring, however, it prevailed in April this year, since the self-protection measures such as mask-wearing during the COVID-19 epidemic at the end of last year also prevented the spread of RSV.
Meanwhile, children developed less immunity to the virus because of reduced exposure to the pathogen during the epidemic while the downgraded COVID-19 management has expanded the area of human activities and increased personnel gathering, which have caused the off-season prevail of RSV, experts explained.