RSV cases in Selma slowing, but still a threat

Published 8:11pm Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Across the nation hospitals have treated a record number of RSV cases this year — Selma has yet to see the same trend.

RSV, or Respiratory Syncytial virus, is a virus that can cause infections of the upper respiratory tracts in people of all ages.

This infection can sometimes result in pneumonia or bronchitis, but it almost always first appears as common cold-like symptoms. Infants and children most commonly catch RSV.

“Vaughan Regional Medical Center has not treated a record number of cases of RSV this season,” Merrill South with Vaughan Regional Medical Center said. “In fact, the RSV season this year has not correlated with increasingly high numbers of influenza.”

CNN reported that with this season’s heavy flu outbreak there was also an upsurge of RSV. In Boston, the Massachusetts General Hospital reported more than 175 cases of RSV so far this season and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta has reported more than 545 cases in children since December.

“Compared to previous RSV seasons, the 2012-2013 season has, in fact, been average,” South said. “It began in November 2012, and to date, we have seen 65 positive cases of RSV from physician offices and the emergency room. While this season hasn’t ended, we are beginning to slowly show a decline in cases as the season peaked in December.”

South suggested that the most effective way to prevent and avoid coming down with RSV is to practice good hygiene — wash hands frequently and make sure children are washing their hands.

“Be sure to dispose of used tissues properly,” South said. “It’s important, too, to clean and disinfect toys shared by multiple children.”

The most alarming thing about RSV, South said, is that it seems like a typical cold — with symptoms such as fever, clear nasal drainage, coughing and irritability.

She said 25 to 40 percent of infants and children under age 1 show signs and symptoms of bronchitis or pneumonia. And hospitalization occurs in less than 2 percent of the cases.

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