TYLER, Texas (KETK) – The CDC said cases of a sickness known as Respiratory Syncytial Virus are surging in the south this year.

The virus, often referred to as RSV, typically infects children under the age of two. However, cases have been appearing in older children and even adults.

There is an average of 3 million RSV cases every year in the United States.

Isabel Vasquez is from East Texas, and her children were sick with the virus.

“This was really bad. They’ve had COVID before and to me, RSV was worse than COVID,” she said.

Other people are also contracting RSV this summer.

“This week we’ve had about 20 cases of RSV. Only a few of those children have required the hospital, which is pretty typical. But, we anticipate that those numbers are going to increase further,” said Dr. Larry Kociolek , an infectious disease specialist.

Doctors also stated the pandemic may have led to more cases of RSV.

“Normally these viruses present in the winter time and those babies get immunity and it goes away. We don’t see it again until the next fall. However, with the stay-at-home advisories, and with the frequent masking, and with schools being closed… all infectious illnesses in children essentially went down so now RSV is essentially catching up off-season,” added Kociolek.

The virus is airborne, so it can spread through the eyes, nose or mouth.

It can last days or weeks, and it gives people flu-like symptoms such as a headache, cough, fever, sore throat and runny or stuffy nose.

“With RSV you can get mucus in your airways. When those airways are really really really small, like in babies under the age of 2 it can lead to wheezing and difficulty breathing and sometimes even respiratory failure that requires an intensive care admission,” said Kociolek.

The virus can also lead to severe conditions for the most vulnerable if it is left untreated.

The Vasquez children were able to fully recover from the illness after more than two weeks.

Health experts said the best way to prevent the spread of RSV is to wash your hands and limit contact with others.