DUBLIN, Ireland: Almost 3,000 people have been hospitalized in Ireland with respiratory syncytial virus, commonly known as RSV, this winter, according to the Health Service executive.
Particularly troubling is that this number includes 1,806 toddlers under the age of four.
Just released data for the period September to the end of January saw 638 people over the age of 65 admitted to hospitals with RSV. This was more than twice as many older people infected with RSV before Covid in 2019.
Also, during the overcrowding in Ireland's hospitals in the winter of 2022, the jump in RSV patients, especially among children, was blamed for much of the overcrowding.
The HSE released detailed RSV figures in response to a parliamentary query from Labour TD Sean Sherlock.
The figures revealed that November was the worst month for hospitalizations, with 1,073 being admitted, compared to 129 in September.
"We have to see a proactive approach that explains to people the dangers of RSV, especially those with reduced immune systems," Sherlock said, as reported by the Irish Examiner.
"It is important that information on numbers requiring hospitalization from RSV is in the public domain. Much like when there were Covid spikes in areas, an RSV spike in regions can act as an information tool for parents and families to take additional precautions."
November also saw the most number of children under 4 years admitted to Irish hospitals, becoming the worst month for children under four years.
The highest number of children admitted with RSV were at Cork University Hospital (39), CHI at Crumlin (55), Our Lady of Lourdes Drogheda (51) and Portiuncula Hospital (47).
Also, November saw 359 children admitted to hospitals with the diagnosis of "unknown."
By January, however, the number of children being admitted to hospitals had fallen to 87.
The data also indicated that risks from RSV for older people were significant. In December, RSV admissions for those over 65 years peaked at 257.