KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The East Tennessee Children's Hospital reported a large uptick in the number of cases of a virus that mostly affects young children during the winter.
Respiratory Syncytial Virus usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms and people usually recover in a week. However, it can cause bronchiolitis and pneumonia in children younger than 1-year-old.
Health officials reported a total of 612 RSV cases for the 2020-2021 season so far, from November 2020 through July 2021. Most of the time, cases spike in the winter months before dropping again in April.
However, during this year's RSV season, cases shot up in the warmer months. Since April, the number of reported cases was nearly double the month before it. The number of cases reported at ETCH per month are listed below:
- November: 2
- December: 6
- January: 6
- February: 1
- March: 7
- April: 44
- May: 92
- June: 151
- July: 303
In June, the Centers for Disease Control warned people about an increase in the number of RSV cases. While it is especially dangerous for younger children and infants, around 14,000 people above 60 years old die from it every year.
Health officials could not immediately provide information about why the number of RSV cases increased so much at the East Tennessee Children's Hospital.