The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a motion on Nov. 1 introduced by Supervisor Kathryn Barger and co-authored by Supervisor Janice Hahn that seeks to curb spikes in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infections that most seriously impact young children.
The action comes on the heels of neighboring Orange County proclaiming a local emergency due to rapidly spreading RSV infections and record numbers of pediatric hospitalizations and daily emergency room visits.
“We need to mobilize our county’s public health resources so we can protect young children from this potentially deadly respiratory virus,” Supervisor Kathryn Barger said. “The pandemic taught us a painful lesson about the seriousness of respiratory infections. If we’ve learned anything from that experience, it’s that we need to quickly engage the public so we can stop a viral infection surge in its tracks. We must provide consistent and reliable information about how families can protect their children from RSV. There’s no time to lose.”
The Board will also begin receiving data and information about RSV’s impacts to the public and private hospital systems.
“Children’s hospitals here in L.A. County and across the country are seeing a shocking number of kids and babies sick with RSV,” said Hahn. “Our county health departments need to double down on outreach to parents and schools so everyone knows what kinds of preventative measures they need to take to protect their children.”
The motion directs L.A. County’s Department of Public Health to work with the Los Angeles County Office of Education and community partners to develop and launch an RSV informational campaign and amplify messages about the importance of childhood vaccinations for preventable diseases.