Riverside University Health System Public Health announced Monday that a 4-year-old child from eastern Riverside County died from an illness possibly linked to respiratory syncytial virus.

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

The child’s identity and city of residence will not be released, RUHS health officials said.

As officials observe an increase in influenza and RSV in young children, various precautions can help prevent the spread.

Leung recommends parents and their children practice frequently washing hands, covering coughs and sneezes, keeping sick children home, indoor masking, and disinfecting surfaces.

RUHS health officials said parents who are concerned about their child’s risk of a severe RSV infection can speak to a healthcare provider about receiving a medicine called palivizumab, which is typically given to premature infants and young children with heart and lung conditions.

RSV season started slightly sooner this year and is expected to last through March, according to RUHS health officials. Though it causes mild, cold-like symptoms, it can be serious for infants and older adults in the winter.

It is spread through coughs, sneezes and direct contact with an infected surface or with someone who has RSV, RUHS health officials said. Contagiousness can last for up to eight days and could begin two days before symptoms start.

Symptoms include shallow or difficulty breathing, coughing, poor appetite, and listlessness or irritability. Additionally, it can cause bronchiolitis and pneumonia.

More information about RSV can be found at www.ruhealth.org/sites/default/files/PH/MPX%20(%20Monkeypox%20)/Docs/resources/FINAL%20RSV%20FAQs.pdf.

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