A serious respiratory illness called respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) has seen a massive surge since the beginning of the year, affecting children in the far north of Queensland.
According to the Queensland Department of Health, since January 1, the Cairns and Hinterland regions had 33 presentations last year and 27 overall in 2019, compared to 182 presentations to the emergency room. ..
In total, the region recorded 378 RSVs since the beginning of the year, with 88 in 2019 and 70 in 2020.
Over 70% of RSV cases are found in children under the age of 10 between January and April.
Dr. Neil Archer, clinical director of pediatrics at Cairns Hospital, said RSV is a common virus that generally causes mild cold-like illnesses in older children and adults. Still, in young children, it was a common cause of bronchiolitis.
“Symptoms of RSV include runny nose, cough, fever, sore throat, and headache, but infants may be undernourished, breathing faster, or require more effort,” he said. It was.
“People with RSV usually get infected 7 to 10 days after they start to have symptoms,” he said.
He said hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette are important means of preventing RSV.
“This includes washing your hands regularly with soap and water after touching the surface, or after coughing or sneezing, and covering your mouth and nose with your elbows when you sneeze,” he said. Said.
He said people should already be in good hygiene to prevent the spread of COVID-19, a disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
Good hygiene also reduced the number of RSV cases in 2020, he said.
“It’s especially important not to send your child to day care if you’re feeling sick to protect other children,” he said.
Although this was often a mild illness, Archer said it could cause severe respiratory illness, especially in babies under 3 months of age and in children who have already had a serious medical diagnosis.
He said RSV cases were particularly high in nursery and other environments due to the ease of infection.
Dr. Don McKee, Executive Director of Medical Services at Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Services, said the outbreak of RSV has provided a record amount of presentations in the hospital’s emergency department in recent weeks.
“We were able to cope with the increase in demand in the short term, but we still urge Farnorth Queenslander to be aware of the pressure on local healthcare services.
“In case of emergency, come to ED. That is the purpose.
“But if you have a non-urgent medical problem, consider calling 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) or seeing your local family doctor,” he said.
Mackie Told ABC He said RSV usually peaks in winter and rarely surges in late summer.
“It may be the result of a change in the way people behave from winter to summer because of COVID,” he said.