The RSV outbreak has so far grown to 2543 cases nationwide. To put this into perspective, the annual average during winter pre-Covid-19 was just 1743.
In the last five weeks, the number of reported RSV cases has spiked, dwarfing records from the last six years.
The outbreak had so far grown to 2543 cases nationwide 735 of these were reported in the last week. To put this into perspective, the annual average during winter pre-Covid-19 was just 1743.
When compared to historical reports, this years outbreak was unprecedented. Data from the past week put the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection rate at 143 per 1 million people, and the peak may still be yet to come.
By collating data from ESRs weekly reports, Stuff was able to paint a stark picture of this outbreak. ESR virologist Dr Sue Huang described this exponential increase as very sharp.
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Prior to this outbreak, the 29th week of 2015 held the record for the most cases 51.61 per 1m (based on population estimates from Stats NZ).
In 2016, at most, there were 40.04 cases per 1m; 39.4 in 2017; 28.45 in 2018; and 40.28 in 2019.
While RSV is predominantly a winter virus, with very few cases, if any, reported during the summer months, it was kept at bay last year.
The lack of cases in 2020 at most, there were 0.98 cases per 1m people mainly thanks to Covid-19 lockdowns and border controls meant a significant portion of young children had no exposure to the virus, which could present like a common cold in milder cases.
Data from ESR shows the unprecedented spike in RSV cases nationwide.
This resulted in a lower level of protective natural immunity across the country.
ESR public health physician Dr Sarah Jefferies explained this outbreak was more than two-fold greater than the historical average from 2014 to 2019 for this time of year.
She described this activity as unusually high, and thought the peak in cases was possibly still to come.
Mai FM host KLee McNabbs four-month-old daughter, Honour, was among those hospitalised with RSV.
While hospitalisations of children between 1 and 4 years decreased in the week ending July 11, RSV-positive hospitalisations were still much higher than the expected seasonal activity more than 1.75 cases per 1000 per week.
Childcare facilities were also at the centre of many outbreaks, creating somewhat of a breeding ground for the virus.
This wave was thought to have been brought in by those travelling to the country via the trans-Tasman bubble with Australia.
Unfortunately, there was no vaccine to protect children or adults from contracting this virus. The best form of prevention was practising good respiratory hygiene. Huang said this was especially important for symptomatic people.