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RSV Risk in Japan: Protecting Young Children's Health -RSウイルスから幼児の健康を守ってください。

RSV Incidence and Risk Level in Japan


Japan has been witnessing a significant number of cases of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) infections annually, predominantly affecting young children. With approximately 800,000 infants born each year, around 50% of Japanese infants are estimated to be exposed to RSV by the age of 1, and nearly 100% by the age of 2.


RSV Incidence and Severity in Japan's Young Population

RSV infections in the early stages manifest with symptoms like fever, sore throat, and respiratory issues, and approximately 20 to 30% of patients may progress to severe complications such as bronchiolitis. Infants with underlying conditions like premature birth or Down syndrome are at a higher risk of developing severe disabilities due to RSV infections.


Surging RSV Cases in Recent Years: Trends and Hotspots

According to recent incidence statistics, RSV has reached its peak occurrence rate in the past five years since 2022. Up until 2021, an average of 2,796 hospitals reported RSV cases, and as of the 26th week of 2023, there have been 9,981 reported cases. Notably, the number of cases reported by local public health clinics has been increasing, with these clinics being the primary centers for conducting RSV tests.


RSV infectious rate among japanese people is increasing
RSV Infection cases reported per sentinel weekly (Reference: National Institute of Infectious Disease)

The region of Minaminihon (Southern Japan) has shown the highest risk of RSV occurrence, and children aged 2 and above constitute about 20% of all confirmed infections. Consequently, the Japanese government has mandated reporting from around 3,000 medical institutions to oversee and manage the situation.


Prevention and Testing: RSV Management Strategies in Japan

To prevent and treat RSV infections, testing is necessary, and during the epidemic period, the cost is covered by public medical insurance for a one-month duration. RSV is classified as a Class 5 designated infectious disease in the field of pediatric medicine, and since 2011, insurance coverage has been extended to include infants (under 1 year old) and patients eligible for antiviral treatment.


A mother holding a baby to take care of him from RSV infection
Take care of your baby from RSV infection

Diagnosis of RSV primarily involves using respiratory secretions, with results typically available within 15 minutes. Furthermore, early confirmation of RSV allows for the prevention of complications through combined testing for adenoviruses and influenza viruses.


For patients under 1 year old, both testing and antibody treatment are provided free of charge with full national support. The burden for testing costs for preschool children is only 20%, amounting to approximately 1,000 to 2,000 yen. In some regions with a pediatric medical cost support system, testing may even be free.


However, patients aged 1 and above are responsible for their testing costs, which can range from 5,000 to 8,000 yen, depending on the hospital (additional medical fees may apply).


Conclusion

As RSV cases continue to rise in Japan, the government and medical institutions are making proactive efforts in prevention and management. Vigilance and support from public health authorities are crucial in safeguarding the health of infants and their families.


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