WORCESTER, Mass. - As health care providers worry about a rise in COVID-19 cases in children, local physicians are also raising the alarm about another virus. ‚Äč

Cases of  respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, are normally seen in the winter, but pediatricians at UMass Memorial Health said they've seen an unusual amount of cases this summer. 

These cases are typically at their highest in the winter when respiratory viruses are at their peak. However, UMass Memorial Health said they've seen a severe uptick in patients hospitalized with the virus. 

While RSV causes a cold in adults, it can cause a deep lung infection in younger kids. The younger a patient is, the worse the virus can be.

After a season of almost no cases, the uptick in hospitalizations has local doctors confused.

"Around May and June, we started to see more cases of RSV. We have never seen a case or an episode like this in the summer," Dr. Timothy Gibson said.  "Now, we're having a full blown bronchiolitis season as if it were the middle of the winter. There's five or six kids here, two or three kids in the ICU. It's been sort of a rough RSV season and not typical to see it in the summer.''

Those most at risk of catching the virus are young children and premature babies.