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Riverside County health officials announce child death due to possible case of RSV

CBS News Los Angeles: The Rundown (Nov. 21 AM Edition)
CBS News Los Angeles: The Rundown (Nov. 21 AM Edition) 02:03

A child under the age of four has reportedly died after possibly contracting Respiratory Syncytial Virus in Riverside County.

According to Riverside University Health System Public Health officials, "An eastern Riverside County child under the age of 4 has died after contracting a respiratory illness that is possibly linked to Respiratory Syncytial Virus."

The child's identity and city of residence will not be released to the public. 

Officials said that the child died at a local hospital after battling the illness. 

"The loss of a child is devastating and all of Public Health sends it heartfelt condolences to the family, loved ones and anyone impacted by this tragic event," said Dr. Geoffrey Leung, Riverside County Public Health Officer. 

This is the second possible death related to RSV to be reported in California, after the California Department of Public Health announced the first death last week — a child under the age of 5. 

In October, health officials indicated that the rate of pediatric RSV cases had skyrocketed in 33 different states, much earlier in the year than they are accustomed to seeing.

"The RSV season typically lasts from November to March, but this year began early and seems to be affecting more kids than previous seasons," RUHS said in the statement.

Leung offered some advice to families in the statement, suggesting that people:

  • Wash hands frequently,
  • Cover coughs and sneezes,
  • Keep children home when sick,
  • Consider indoor masking,
  • Disinfect frequently used surfaces.

Symptoms of RSV include shallow or difficulty breathing, cough, poor appetite, listlessness or irritability and can cause bronchitis and/or pneumonia.

The combination of RSV, COVID-19 and the flu have caused excessive strain on healthcare facilities across California, something healthcare experts are have referred to as a "tripledemic."

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