RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KABC) -- A child under age 4 in eastern Riverside County has died after possibly contracting RSV, health officials said Monday.
Riverside County health officials did not disclose the child's gender, city of residence or other details, but said the child died at a hospital "after contracting a respiratory illness that is possibly linked to Respiratory Syncytial Virus."
"The loss of a child is devastating and all of Public Health sends its heartfelt condolences to the family, loved ones and anyone impacted by this tragic event," said Dr. Geoffrey Leung, public health officer for Riverside County.
Health officials have been warning that cases of RSV, a common respiratory virus, are unusually high and starting earlier in the season this year.
Cases started rising in October, an occurrence that usually isn't observed until December in most years.
Respiratory Syncytial Virus normally produces symptoms similar to a common cold in healthy adults, but young children, the elderly and the immunocompromised are much more vulnerable.
Earlier this month, the state of California announced its first case this year of a child dying from a combination of RSV and the flu.
The CDC says the nation typically sees about 100-300 deaths each year in children under age 5, and 6,000-10,000 deaths in adults age 65 and older.
A vaccine for RSV remains in development, but is believed to be at least a year away from release to the public.