DUBLIN, Ireland: Ireland health officials reported the highest number of potentially fatal respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) cases last week, according to the Health Service Executive.
Additionally, hospitals throughout Ireland are reporting an increase in the numbers of young children being treated for respiratory symptoms and viruses.
According to the Health Protective Surveillance Centre, Ireland recorded 648 new RSV cases last week, including 282 admitted to hospitals for treatment of RSV.
Among last week's new RSV cases, 65 percent were reported among children 0 to 4 years of age.
RSV causes Bronchiolitis, which is a common chest infection in babies and young children.
"Given the current concerning RSV numbers, we all have a particular part to play in protecting newborn and small babies, who are most affected," said Dr Lois O'Connor, HSE Consultant in Public Health Medicine, as reported by the journal.ie.
"The best way we can protect ourselves and our family members from RSV, common colds, and other winter viruses is to reduce the chance of infection and spread," O'Connor said.
O'Connor advises that people should not circulate in public when exhibiting cold symptoms, including attending school.
Also, young babies need to be protected from common coughs and colds. It is recommended that parents of newborns prevent anyone who is ill from approaching babies.
"Because children had limited contact with one another last year, their exposure to all respiratory viruses and resultant immune response was reduced. As a result, more children will have lower immunity to these viruses this year," O'Connor added.