The RSV epidemic sends infants and children to HUS hospitals

There have been more and more small children and infants in the hospitals and outpatient centers in the Helsinki and Uusimaa regions who have suffered from RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus infection.

There were almost 25 children in hospital in the Helsinki and Uusimaa hospital districts on Sunday night due to RSV infection. Tea NieminenThe infectious disease expert at Helsinki’s New Children’s Hospital told the news agency STT.

By Mika Rämet, Professor of Pediatrics and Director of the Vaccine Research Center at the University of Tampere, although there are RSV cases across Finland, they have focused especially on the Helsinki and Uusimaa Hospital District (HUS).

"According to the Department of Infectious Diseases of the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), 246 cases of RSV were diagnosed in Finland this month and 140 cases in the HUS area.

RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, is a common virus that usually causes mild cold symptoms, but can be particularly severe in very young and elderly people with underlying diseases. RSV infections can cause inflammation in the lower lungs of newborns, infants, and toddlers. The virus spreads in droplets, such as when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Symptoms of RSV include nose, decreased appetite, cough, sneezing, and fever.

Symptoms may also include difficulty breathing, which may manifest as wheezing or wheezing at a faster rate of breathing. Infected babies may also have mucus and fever, while small babies may only have interrupted breathing as the only symptom.

More cases are expected

According to Rämet and Nieminen, the expected RSV epidemic did not occur at all last spring due to the restrictions related to the coronavirus. No RS cases were reported in the spring.

"Because we had a break of a year and a half, the epidemic is likely to be stronger than average, as it has been in Sweden. Every year, an illness provides protection for a longer period of time, now a larger proportion of children [with RSV] are the ones who have never had it" Rämet explained.

Nieminen said more RSV cases are coming.

"We didn’t see any cases this spring, which could be a warning sign that the upcoming season is stronger than normal. The epidemic is exacerbated when the virus comes into contact with a sufficiently sensitive person with a weakened immune system," he said, adding that this year’s RSV season appears to be about a month ahead of schedule and that the epidemic is likely to continue until at least January.

RSV children in need of hospitalization usually stay in the hospital for about a week, but do not compete for beds with Covid patients in hospital in the area because they are in the New Children’s Hospital.

"These two groups are treated in different places, which makes it somewhat easier, but certainly burdensome, for the entire health care system to have two types of patients at the same time who require great resources to care for. We still have a limited number of nurses and doctors," Nieminen said.

RSV vaccines are being developed, says Rämet, a vaccine expert who said it was possible to give infants some protection by giving them antibody injections.

"We are currently investigating more advanced versions of the antibodies. One idea is to modify them so that their half-life slows down so that you can cope with one injection instead of having to inject one each month for the duration of the RSV." Rämet said.

Source: The Nordic Page


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