Experts meet this Thursday to address the impact in Latin America of the Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), main cause of serious respiratory infections in children under one year of age, amid the growing number of cases in countries of the Andean region and the Southern Cone.
“Diálogos EFE Salud: Respiratory Syncytial Virus, the impact on babies and premature babies in Latin America” brings together representatives of governments, international organizations, medical associations and organizations dedicated to care to analyze the regional situation.
Among the panelists are Alejandro Cravioto, Professor of Microbiology and Public Health at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM); the director of the Department of Pediatrics of the Latin American Association of the Thorax (ALAT), Lydiana Avila, and Martha Herrera Olaya, Director of the Fiquires Foundation of Colombia.
RSV is a very common cause of infection of the lower respiratory tract (bronchial tubes, bronchioles, and alveoli of the lungs). It affects people of any age, but It can be serious, especially in infants and the elderly.
Babies born prematurely, with chronic lung disease (chronic lung disease or bronchopulmonary dysplasia, cystic fibrosis), with congenital heart disease, or with immunodeficiencies have a increased risk of complications and hospitalization for RSV.
The meeting of experts takes place at a time when several countries in the region report a upward trend in RSV cases, according to data from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
In its most recent report on influenza and other respiratory viruses, issued on January 20, PAHO notes that although RSV activity continues to decline in the United States, cases are increasing in Jamaica, Guatemala, Brazil and Chile.
Meanwhile, in the Andean countries, RSV activity has generally remained low, but with a growing trend.
The VSR has formed part in recent months of aThe wave of respiratory viruses called “tripledemia”, a simultaneous rebound in cases of covid-19, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus.
Measures to protect babies
A study published in The Lancet confirmed that the respiratory syncytial virus was responsible in 2019 for more than 100 thousand deaths in the world in children under 5 years of age and 97% of deaths occurred in low- and middle-income countries.
For this reason, today’s meeting, which can be seen at https://youtu.be/VvT_SO4CFskmoderated by journalist Glenda Umaña, aims to educate about RSV and inform about preventive alternatives.
Although there are no vaccines approved by any regulatory authority, there is a medicine that reduces hospitalization rates.
It is a monoclonal antibody (palivizumab), an artificial protein that acts on the immune system, and it is a technology approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency.
Palivizumab reduces hospitalization rates by prevent “severe RSV disease in certain infants and children who are at high risk,” such as those born prematurely, with congenital heart disease or bronchopulmonary dysplasia, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
(With information from EFE)