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Childhood Infection Counts

Childhood Infections

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Updated October 18, 2008

Parents are often used to hearing about flu season activity reports, as they hear about the increase in cases of the flu in the winter, as they reach a peak, and then end by April or May.

These flu reports are helpful, like when your child has flu symptoms and a lot of cases of the flu are in your area, then it makes it more likely that your child has the flu too. On the other hand, if the number of cases of the flu are low in your area, then your child's symptoms may be caused by another infection.

In addition to the flu, you can view activity reports on many other childhood infections, including:

  • RSV Surveillance - the Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) can cause cold symptoms or bronchiolitis, with a runny nose, cough, fever, wheezing and difficulty breathing. RSV season typically begins in October and can linger into April or May, but the timing varies slightly from region to region of the United States and from year to year.

  • Rotavirus Surveillance - rotavirus causes diarrhea and vomiting and although kids can get rotavirus infections any time of year, they are most common during rotavirus season, which typically runs from around December through June.

  • Adenovirus Surveillance - adenoviral infections seem to occur year round. Symptoms can include fever, sore throat and other upper respiratory tract symptoms. Adenovirus can also cause pharyngoconjunctival fever, with a sore throat, fever and red eyes without discharge or matting.

  • Human Parainfluenza Surveillance - unlike most other viruses, the human parainfluenza virus is most active in the spring and summer and is a big cause of summer time infections, including croup, summer colds, and bronchiolitis.

Like following pollen counts when your child has seasonal allergies or allergic asthma to help figure out if your child's runny nose is from a cold or allergies, monitoring the above surveillance reports can be helpful when your child is sick.

Does your child have rotavirus or RSV? If he has classic symptoms and it is the middle of rotavirus season or RSV season, then it increases the chances that he does.

Still, pediatricians will likely find this information more interesting than parents.

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