LOS ANGELES -- As both influenza and RSV surge throughout the country, California is reporting its first death this year of a child under age 5 from the two viruses.
Hospitals throughout the United States are seeing unusually high numbers of patients with either or both of the two illnesses, after experiencing at least two years of relatively low caseloads.
The California Department of Public Health declined to disclose in which part of the state the child died.
But officials said the announcement should serve as a warning to parents to take precautions and get their children vaccinated. Vaccines are available now for flu, as well as COVID-19.
A vaccine for RSV remains in development, but is believed to be at least a year away from release to the public.
"This tragic event serves as a stark reminder that respiratory viruses can be deadly, especially in very young children and infants," said state public health officer and CDPH Director Dr. Tomás Aragón. "We are entering a busy winter virus season - with RSV, flu and COVID-19 spreading - and urge parents and guardians to vaccinate their children as soon as possible against flu and COVID-19."
Aragón also reminded the public to follow basic safety steps such as wearing masks, washing hands and staying home when sick.
The state says it is seeing RSV activity begin earlier this year than usual. Case numbers started rising in October, when normally that doesn't happen until December.
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