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RSV is a common winter illness in children. Why did it see a summer surge in Australia this year?

By Daniel Yeoh, Paediatrician and Infectious Diseases Physician, The University of Melbourne
David Anthony Foley, Infectious diseases epidemiologist, Telethon Kids Institute
Hannah C Moore, Co-Head, Infectious Diseases Epidemiology, Wesfarmers Centre of Vaccines and Infectious Diseases, Telethon Kids Institute
Mejbah Bhuiyan, Post-Doctoral Researcher, Telethon Kids Institute
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Winter typically brings a surge in respiratory viral infections, when we see many children running around with runny noses and phlegmy coughs.

But the 2020 Australian winter was very different. Public health measures in place to control the spread of COVID-19 saw a major shift in the typical seasonal pattern of other respiratory viruses.

This has perhaps been most notable with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a very common cause of hospitalisation in young children over winter months in many…


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