CDC issues warning about respiratory illness – not COVID-19 – on the rise


CDC seeing "increased Interseasonal Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) activity in parts of the Southern United States"

(Getty Images)

ATLANTA, GA. (BRPROUD) – A respiratory illness is on the rise in the U.S. – and no, it isn’t COVID-19.

With that in mind, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is issuing a health advisory for part of the Southern United States.

The health advisory centers around an increase in RSV cases.

The CDC defines respiratory syncytial virus this way:

Respiratory syncytial (sin-SISH-uhl) virus, or RSV, is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms. Most people recover in a week or two, but RSV can be serious, especially for infants and older adults. RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis (inflammation of the small airways in the lung) and pneumonia (infection of the lungs) in children younger than 1 year of age in the United States.

Here are the symptoms to look out for in the listed age groups:

Infants younger than six months:

  • Irritability
  • Poor feeding
  • Lethargy and/or apnea with or without fever

Older infants and young children:

  • Runny nose
  • Decreased appetite may appear one to three days before cough, often followed by sneezing, fever, and sometimes wheezing

For a patient that contacts RSV, the only solution is symptom management.

The CDC lists these states as those who have seen increases in RSV cases:

  • Alabama
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Kentucky
  • Mississippi
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Arkansas
  • Louisiana
  • New Mexico
  • Oklahoma
  • Texas

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is asking clinicians and caregivers to consider testing for RSV even when a SARS-CoV-2 test comes back negative.

The CDC provided these statistics about what the average RSV numbers looks like in the U.S. each year:

  • 2.1 million outpatient visits among children younger than 5 years old
  • 58,000 hospitalizations among children younger than 5 years old
  • 177,000 hospitalizations among adults 65 years and older
  • 14,000 deaths among adults 65 years and older

If you would like to learn more about the Respiratory syncytial virus, visit Mayo Clinic.

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