CDC issues health advisory of increase in cases of highly contagious virus


SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The CDC is out with a new advisory and it pertains to a respiratory disease unrelated to the coronavirus.

As COVID-19 infections continue to decline in the state and throughout the country, health officials are cautioning about an uptick of another respiratory infection, Respiratory Syncytial Virus, or RSV.

The uptick isn’t normal for this time of year and doctors say we’re seeing cases locally.

“Adults are saying I have a cough but I am vaccinated and I know it’s not COVID,” said Dr. John O’Reilly of Baystate Children’s Hospital. “And we become a little more complacent and less worried about spreading viruses around.”

RSV is a common respiratory virus that can cause symptoms similar to COVID-19, in most cases, it causes a minor cold. But the virus can cause severe illness in everyone from infants to the elderly. It’s also the most common cause of bronchitis and pneumonia in children under one.

The CDC reports that approximately 58,000 children are hospitalized with the infection each year. The warning signs of the virus are wheezing and a very runny nose. It is spread through air droplets and direct contact.

22News spoke with some people who said they are taking precautions to not catch or spread respiratory illnesses.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen beyond this point,” said Frank Perotti of West Springfield. “We will continue to wear our mask and just go from there.”

Like COVID-19, RSV can spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

“Due to reduced circulation of RSV during the winter months of 2020-2021, older infants and toddlers might now be at increased risk of severe RSV-associated illness since they have likely not had typical levels of exposure to RSV during the past 15 months,” the CDC warns. 

Dr. O’Reilly suggests covering your mouth with your upper arm when coughing and sneezing, and continue practicing good hygiene.

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