MOSCOW, September 30 (RIA Novosti) - Despite panic surrounding the enterovirus D-68 (EV-D68), doctors believe the United States should focus its worries on the deadlier respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) that hospitalizes some 75,000 to 125,000 children every year, killing some 200 of those infected, NBC News reported Tuesday.
"It isn't that often that you get this wide an outbreak of enterovirus D-68," Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told NBC of the EV-D68 media attention.
"RSV is always there and people get used to it," Fauci added.
RSV infects nearly everyone by the time they turn two-years-old and while it usually results in a very bad cold, some children, especially babies, can suffer severely from the virus, according to NBC.
The number of deaths caused by the virus in the United States is uncertain since hospitals are not required to report deaths linked to RSV, however some 66,000 to 199,000 children are estimated to be killed by the disease annually worldwide.
"Enterovirus must have a really good PR agent because it is getting all the press and there is no real need for it," Dr. Paul Checchia of Texas Children's Hospital told NBC News.
"It is a significant respiratory pathogen, but it is not really different from a lot of other respiratory pathogens out there," Checchia added.
According to Checchia, EV-D68 mostly infects vulnerable children with underlying lung diseases or neurological conditions. Fauci believes the virus is sparking panic due to its pattern of infections rather than its death rate, which is currently zero in the United States. The latest count of EV-D68 infections found 443 cases in 40 states.
Hundreds of viruses can cause classic cold-like symptoms like RSV and EV-D68 though most cases of severe respiratory disease are never diagnosed since the treatment is the same for all of them: basic supportive care. Both doctors warned that trouble breathing is a major symptom to look out for in dangerous cases of RSV.
RSV can also infect adults, and the virus kills some 10,000 elderly Americans every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.