A respiratory virus which poses danger to young children and older people has seen record numbers of cases recently.

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre said that 731 cases of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) were reported to it last week.

In most of the population the virus does not present much of a threat, resulting in no more than typical cold-like symtpoms.

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However, it is a leading cause of death in children under one, and it can also pose a threat to over-65s.

Only weeks ago Ireland saw another record of 650 cases, but now that number has been exceeded once more.

As the HSE worries about a ‘twindemic’ of Covid-19 and flu this winter, this little-known virus is yet another concern for overburdened health services and nursing homes in the country.

HPSC said of the virus: “Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms. Most people recover in a week or two, but RSV can be serious, especially for infants and older adults.

“RSV causes coughs and colds every winter and is the most common cause of bronchiolitis (inflammation of the small airways in the lung) in infants. RSV also causes pneumonia (lung infection). RSV is an important cause of severe respiratory illness among children under 2 years of age and is also the most common cause of hospital admissions due to acute respiratory illness in young children.”

It recommends similar measures to those employed in stopping the spread of Covid-19, in a bid to try to halt cases of RSV.

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