U.S. county declares health emergency due to surging RSV cases


LOS ANGELES, Nov. 1 (Xinhua) -- Orange County, a region in the western U.S. state of California with over 3.8 million population, has issued a declaration of health emergency due to surging respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) cases.

The county's health officer issued a declaration of health emergency on Monday due to rapidly spreading virus infections causing record numbers of pediatric hospitalizations and daily emergency room visits, said a statement from the Orange County Health Care Agency.

"Additionally, a proclamation of local emergency has been declared, which allows the county to access state and federal resources to address the situation and seek mutual aid from surrounding counties," the statement added.

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but it is particularly dangerous for children under two because they have smaller windpipes that collect more mucous, and lungs that need more support for breathing.

Orange County's declaration came four days after the CDC said that RSV was on the rise in multiple U.S. regions. The ABC News channel warned last week that as cases of RSV and respiratory viruses spread across the country, many hospitals in multiple states were operating at near capacity.

Last week, the public health agency of neighboring San Diego County in Southern California sounded a similar alarm.

"Local health providers are seeing an early spike in flu and RSV cases, and while COVID-19 cases are currently trending down in the region, a triple whammy of all three viruses circulating at the same time could lead to strains on the already overburdened medical system," a San Diego County statement said.

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