Phoebe doctor: RSV cases popping up early this year

Respiratory Syncytial Virus, or RSV, is a common virus that can affect people of all ages....
Respiratory Syncytial Virus, or RSV, is a common virus that can affect people of all ages. Globally, RSV is the second leading cause of death during the first year of a child’s life, after malaria, according to CNN.(MGN, CDC / Dr. H. Craig Lyerla)
Published: Nov. 11, 2022 at 8:43 PM EST
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - A respiratory illness that tends to impact young children is increasing across the nation.

Respiratory Syncytial Virus, or RSV, is a common virus that can affect people of all ages. Globally, RSV is the second leading cause of death during the first year of a child’s life, after malaria, according to CNN.

Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital’s Dr. James Black said most of the RSV cases they’ve had were involving children in their earlier ages of life.

“We experienced an early but significant increase in RSV cases. I think over the past couple of months, we’ve had about 130 cases. And several of those have had to be hospitalized. Over the past few weeks, we have seen that number decrease. I think last week we had seven, but two of those people had to be hospitalized.”

Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital’s Dr. James Black said most of the RSV cases they’ve had were...
Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital’s Dr. James Black said most of the RSV cases they’ve had were involving children in their earlier ages of life.(Source: WALB)

RSV is a very contagious virus, just like many other viruses. But people who have RSV tend to be a little bit less sick than those with influenza.

“With the close proximity of children, especially like in daycare and in school, is something that’s easily transmissible,” Black said. “We’ve had a couple of cases up to 18, and then a couple of the population over 65 who’ve had significant respiratory disease.”

Black said typically, the people who are at greatest risk are children who are born prematurely, kids less than six months of age with respiratory or cardiac illnesses. He said RSV can make those chronic illnesses worse.

“You know we face a very real possibility of having a high number of cases of RSV, Influenza, and COVID all at the same time,” Black said. “The flu season hit us much earlier, not only in Georgia, but around the country than we expected. So whereas we thought we had a few more months to prepare, it’s upon us now.”

Black said as they see the uptick in influenza, RSV numbers are declining — but it is still prevalent.