Dear USET/USET SPF Family,
Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) has been in the news recently as there has been a surge in cases and hospitalizations across the country. RSV is typically seen in the late fall and winter, peaking in January and February. The current surge is happening earlier in the year than usual. RSV affects all ages but is particularly serious for young infants and older immunocompromised adults. In older children and adults, it typically causes upper respiratory tract infections, with runny nose, cough, sneezing, and sometimes fever. In young children it can cause lower respiratory tract infections such as pneumonia and bronchiolitis and is a common cause of hospitalization for infants.
There is no specific treatment for RSV (such as an antiviral drug), and there is no vaccine yet. There is a preventive monoclonal antibody called palivizumab which can be given to high-risk infants. High risk conditions include prematurity (born at <35 weeks gestational age), immunocompromising conditions, and chronic heart and lung disease.
RSV is spread by respiratory droplets and touching contaminated surfaces. The most important preventive measures to emphasize are:
- Good hand washing.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your upper sleeve (not bare hands).
- Stay home and away from vulnerable children and older adults if you are sick.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as doorknobs.
- Avoid touching your face or someone else’s face with unwashed hands.
If a young infant, particularly one less than 6 months of age, has a respiratory illness, the family should seek medical attention.
The CDC website
has useful information about RSV for clinicians and the general public.
As always, USET TEC staff members are available to help you with any questions. If you have any questions, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.