TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Pediatricians and public health officials say parents need to be aware of not just COVID-19 but a second virus that is landing children in hospitals around the country.

“RSV stands for Respiratory Syncytial Virus and it’s a common virus that’s seasonal like the flu is and it really affects young kids and those with chronic lung disease and it’s the most common cause of bronchiolitis which is a viral infection that causes inflammation in your lungs,” says Tampa General Hospital Urgent Care Chief Medical Officer Dr. Paul Nanda.

RSV is similar to COVID-19, usually results in mild symptoms, but can be severe in infants and older adults.

“The common symptoms of RSV are runny nose, cough, fever, wheezing…and some of those symptoms are similar to what we’re seeing in Covid or Flu. “RSV can be serious in certain circumstances especially kids born premature within the first 6 months of life or those kids born with congenital heart and lung diseases and people over 65 who have chronic heart and lung diseases are at a higher risk,” says Dr. Nanda.

Dr. Paul Nanda also explained that TGH is seeing hundreds of cases of the virus.

“Usually in central Florida, we see the season to be August to March.  This season has been different.  When restrictions loosened and people started not social distancing and taking off their masks we saw a rise in June and July that we weren’t really expecting,” says Dr. Nanda. “In typical years we are right around 7 percent now that rises…right now we’re seeing 20%-30% positivity rate and that’s because we are not masking up and the reopening of schools…which increases transmission rates.”

Dr. Nanda says if you are concerned about your child’s risk for severe RSV infection, talk to your child’s healthcare provider.