A respiratory syncytial virus (RSV, acronym for “Respiratory syncytial virus”), a viral agent capable of infecting the respiratory system of patients of any age, but mainly children in the first years of life, is affecting small patients throughout Italy, with pediatric wards and intensive care units in hospitals in difficulty due to the presence of newborns and babies with bronchiolitis and pneumonia, caused by the virus itself.
What the virus can cause: the symptoms
Premature babies, more than 30 thousand are born every year in Italy
According to the latest available data, in Padua there are 16 small patients, 4 of whom intubated in intensive care, while at the Policlinico Umberto I in Rome there are 10 hospitalized, of which 2, just one month old, hospitalized in intensive care. But the situation also appears similar in other Italian regions. It is “an epidemic that arrived 2 months in advance”, explained to Adnkronos Salute Fabio Midulla, president of the Italian Society for Childhood Respiratory Diseases (Simri), full professor of pediatrics at La Sapienza University and head of pediatric emergency room of the Policlinico Umberto I in Rome. “If contracted in the first months of the child’s life, the virus causes severe forms of bronchiolitis, with clinical manifestations in the lower respiratory tract, while in older children and adults it resolves with mild symptoms, such as nasopharyngitis, fever or cough ”, added the expert. “But newborns are often protected by maternal antibodies that are ‘transmitted’ through the placenta. This time, however, it was not so and the epidemic that usually comes in December-January broke out 2 months in advance. We expected this because for a year and a half the virus did not circulate thanks to the anti-Covid measures ”, Midulla continued. Yet, “as soon as these measures were relaxed, the older siblings returned to kindergarten or school, and with a population without antibodies the virus began to circulate, sooner and earlier than usual, and is giving serious forms in the very small “.
The precautionary measures
To date, for this virus, there is no specific vaccine, but “three phase III trials of vaccines for mothers and therapies with monoclonal antibodies are underway, but indicated only for premature and particularly fragile babies, such as heart patients”, he said. remembered Midulla. Pending vaccines, prevention remains “the main weapon, which consists of precautionary measures such as hand washing, masks, disposable handkerchiefs to always throw in the garbage, distancing in the case of a sick older brother and do not send children to school before they are healed ”, as a source of contagion.
The case of little Vittoria
Among the children involved also Vittoria, the daughter of Chiara Ferragni and the singer Fedez, hospitalized and under observation after contracting the respiratory virus. On social, Ferragni herself provided updates on the conditions of the child. “She’s fine and finally she feels stronger. Now we just need her oxygen levels to return to normal, ”he wrote on Instagram. And Fedez himself, in the past few hours, had launched an appeal, advising not to take the virus “lightly”. “If you have small children, be very careful, please”, he pointed out.