Rising RSV Cases Across Australia Prompt Concerns Amidst Ongoing Viral Circulation

Main image to the post Rising RSV Cases Across Australia Prompt Concerns Amidst Ongoing Viral Circulation

The number of RSV cases in Australia has surged, almost doubling from the previous year, reaching over 56,000 cases recorded by April. The spike in RSV cases has been particularly noticeable in New South Wales, where half of the new reports were documented in April, with Queensland and Victoria following suit. Amidst this rise, it has been observed that most of the diagnoses are in young children, with a majority of cases affecting children four years old and younger.

Authorities and experts are attributing this increase in reported RSV cases to a combination of factors, including increased testing for respiratory infections in general and a higher circulation of RSV compared to the previous year. The federal government's Australian Respiratory Surveillance Report suggests that the surge in RSV cases may also be linked to the increased prevalence of COVID-19 in the community, influencing health-seeking behavior, such as increased testing for viral respiratory infections. Furthermore, Professor Robert Booy, an infectious diseases pediatrician, noted not only a rise in RSV cases but also surges in various other bacteria and viruses, including whooping cough and mycoplasma pneumoniae.

While vaccination rates for viruses, including RSV, have been lower this year compared to last year, experts emphasize the importance of vaccination, particularly for older and vulnerable populations. The Australian Medical Association highlights the significance of vaccinations and mask-wearing in safeguarding against respiratory illnesses as the winter season approaches and the potential for increased viral transmission. Additionally, calls have been made for RSV immunization to be made more accessible, with efforts to encourage governments to provide free RSV vaccination to vulnerable infants across different states in Australia.

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May 21, 2023 | 05:09