The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently issued a health advisory regarding the Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) vaccine. CDC issued the advisory as a result of increases in RSV activity across some parts of the Southeastern United States (the Carolinas, the Virginias, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida). Historically, these regional increases have predicted the beginning of RSV season nationally, with increased RSV activity spreading north and west over the following 2-3 months.
RSV is a respiratory virus that can lead to mild cold-like symptoms in healthy adults. However, it can be much more severe in certain populations, particularly infants, young children, older adults, and individuals with compromised immune systems. Severe RSV infections can result in hospitalization, and in some cases, it can be life-threatening.
The CDC’s health advisory emphasizes the importance of vaccination and highlights several key points, including:
- RSV Season: RSV infections tend to peak during the fall and winter months. This means that it’s essential to be vigilant and take preventive measures during these times.
- Impact on Vulnerable Populations: The CDC underscores the significant impact of RSV on infants under the age of 12 months, premature infants, children with certain medical conditions, individuals living with compromised immune systems, and seniors.
- RSV Vaccine: The CDC recommends the use of the RSV vaccine for eligible populations, including infants born prematurely and children with specific medical conditions. Vaccination can help reduce the severity of infections and decrease the risk of hospitalization.
- Preventive Measures: In addition to vaccination, the CDC emphasizes the importance of practicing good hygiene, such as frequent handwashing, avoiding close contact with sick individuals, and cleaning and disinfecting commonly touched surfaces.
- Healthcare Providers: Health care providers are encouraged to remain vigilant for potential RSV cases, especially in infants and young children, and to promptly diagnose and treat infections.
The CDC estimates that every year RSV causes approximately 58,000–80,000 hospitalizations and 100–300 deaths in children over the age of 5, as well as 60,000–160,000 hospitalizations and 6,000–10,000 deaths among adults 65 years and older. CPAT will continue to monitor updates related to RSV and other health care concerns, providing you with the latest information to keep our communities safe and healthy.