HOUSTON, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- Hundreds of children have been hospitalized in the U.S. city of Houston, suffering from a highly contagious respiratory virus, health officials said Thursday.
More than 600 patients tested positive in December for respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, officials with Texas Children's Hospital told the Houston Chronicle.
More than 140 pediatric patients have been admitted to another children's hospital in Houston since October, the Chronicle quoted unnamed sources as saying.
For adults, RSV, causing influenza-like symptoms and usually peaking by the end of January, generally causes no more than typical cold symptoms. It is the very young -- babies who are under one-year-old that are at the greatest risk, the report said.
Doctors have been working on a vaccine for years, but so far there is no one to prevent the virus. The best prevention for the illness is staying away from sick people and frequent hand washing, according to the report.
Many U.S. states including Texas have been hit by flu, mostly H1N1 virus, this season.
Health officials confirmed in late December that at least 13 patients have died from H1N1 virus in Houston. Authorities said Tuesday at least 20 people have died from flu in north Texas.