CDC Issues Health Advice on RSV Rise in Southern US

CDC Issues Health Advice on RSV Rise in Southern US

The CDC noted increases in laboratory detections and in the percentages of positive detections for both antigen and PCR testing in parts of the south including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.  “Due to this increased activity, CDC encourages broader testing for RSV among patients presenting with acute respiratory illness who test negative for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19,” the agency wrote in its advisory. “This health advisory also serves as a reminder to healthcare personnel, childcare providers, and staff of long-term care facilities to avoid reporting to work while acutely ill – even if they test negative for SARS-CoV-2.” RELATED: California, New York coronavirus variants: Researchers tracking spread of new strains

While RSV infections occur primarily during the fall and winter cold and flu season, the CDC found an increase since March in RSV detections reported by the National Respiratory and Enteric Virus Surveillance System, a nationwide laboratory-based surveillance network.  According to the CDC, RSV is an RNA virus, primarily spread via respiratory droplets when a person coughs or sneezes, and through direct contact with a contaminated surface. RSV can be associated with severe disease in young children and older adults. 

Scanning electron micrograph of human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) virions (colorized blue) and labeled with anti-RSV F protein/gold antibodies (colorized yellow) shedding from the surface of human lung epithelial A549 cells. Credit: NIAID. (Pho WASHINGTON – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a health advisory Thursday notifying clinicians and caregivers about increased interseasonal respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) activity across parts of the southern United States. 

Since RSV levels were reduced in 2020, the agency said infants and toddlers may be at an increased risk of severe illness to the virus, since they have not had typical levels of exposure to RSV during the past 15 months. RELATED: Moderna CEO says company anticipates ‘a lot of variants’ of coronavirus in next year RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in children under one year of age in the U.S., the CDC said. 

“Since this elevated interseasonal activity is a deviation in the typical circulation patterns for RSV, at this time it is not possible to anticipate the likely spread, peak, or duration of activity with any certainty,” the CDC wrote. In April 2020, researchers noticed a decrease in RSV activity, likely due to the adoption of public health measures to help reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

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