Rise in RSV cases among young children and babies

September 6, 2023
a mother holding their child

Historically, such regional increases have predicted the beginning of RSV season nationally, with increased RSV activity spreading north and west over the following 2-3 months.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in a Health Advisory alert on Tuesday concerning the rise in RSV cases in parts of the Southeastern United States.

The Big Picture: The CDC issued a Health Alert Network Health Advisory this week due to an increase in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in young children in Florida and Georgia. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, regional increases in RSV have predicted the beginning of the national RSV season.

In August: From August 5th to 19th, RSV-related hospitalizations rose from 2 in 100,000 kids aged 4 and below to 7 in 100,000, per the CDC, with most of the hospitalizations being in babies less than 1 year old. In early August, the CDC recommended Beyfortus (an RSV prevention shot approved by the FDA in July) "to help protect all infants under 8 months and some older babies at increased risk of severe illness caused by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)" (CDC). Beyfortus is expected to be available by early October.

What is RSV? Respiratory syncytial virus is common and causes cold-like symptoms. While most people recover, it can be particularly serious for infants and older adults, causing up to 80,000 hospitalizations and around 300 deaths in children under five years old each year in the U.S.; RSV is also the leading cause of hospitalization in infants (children less than one year old).

CDC alerts doctors to an increase in RSV cases among young children and babies

by Jenna Lee,