UK issues urgent warning as killer virus sees soaring number of kids in hospital

A deadly virus is on the rise as the number of children hospitalised due to it has escalated recently, according to official data.

Thousands of kids under five have passed away from respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) across the globe.

RSV can cause include cold-like symptoms such as a cough and runny nose.

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With cases on the rise thanks to data provided from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), the agency also found out that the number of children under five being admitted to hospitals has also risen.

Dr Conall Watson, consultant epidemiologist for the UKHSA, said the rise in cases and hospital admissions is expected.

"For children under two, RSV can be severe – particularly for babies and those born prematurely," he said.

RSV infections increased by 8.3% in the week ending October 30, as infections of those under five years old topped the pile at 29.3%.

Hospitalisations for RSV in that age group was more than 16 children per 100,000 of the population, which was higher than any age group.

Covid lockdowns has been billed as one explanation due to young kids not being able to build immunity to illnesses like RSV and the flu, according to experts.

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Being stuck at home through the pandemic meant common bugs in society were not able to circulate the population as it usually does which left many children as well as adults without immunity.

Dr Watson said normal hygienic principles can help prevent infection with the rise of cases of RSV and flu.

He said: "Actions like using tissues and handwashing can reduce spread to the most vulnerable. If you are ill, do not visit babies.

"If you are worried your infant has cold symptoms with any unusual breathing or difficulty feeding, please contact 111 or your GP. If your child seems seriously unwell, trust your judgement and get emergency care."


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