"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

The RSV season has began and this yr it could possibly be different

September 6, 2023 – An increase in respiratory syncytial virus cases in Florida and Georgia signals that RSV season has begun.

The CDC issued a national alarm to health officials on Tuesday, urging them to supply latest drugs that may prevent severe cases of the respiratory virus in very young children and the elderly, the 2 groups most prone to potentially fatal complications from RSV.

Typically, the CDC considers RSV season to start when the speed of positive virus tests is above 3% for 2 weeks in a row. In Florida, the speed has been around 5% in recent weeks, and Georgia has seen an increase in RSV-related hospitalizations. Most of the hospitalizations in Georgia have been in infants under one yr of age.

“In the past, such regional increases have predicted the onset of the RSV season nationally, with increased RSV activity spreading north and west over the following two to three months,” the CDC said.

One of the complications of RSV is bronchiolitis, which is the narrowing of the small airways within the lungs as a consequence of swelling. Bronchiolitis causes wheezing. Most children are infected with RSV by the age of two. Up to 80,000 children under the age of 5 are hospitalized annually due to virus, and between 100 and 300 die annually from complications.

Due to the supply of latest preventive treatments, these numbers could possibly be significantly different this yr.

The CDC recommends that every one children under 8 months of age receive the newly approved monoclonal antibody treatment nirsevimab (Beyfortus). Children as much as 19 months of age at high risk of severe complications from RSV are also eligible for the single-dose vaccine. In clinical trials, the treatment 80% effective prevented RSV infections from becoming severe enough to require hospitalization of youngsters. Protection lasted for about 5 months.

Older persons are also at increased risk of severe illness from RSV, and two latest vaccines can be found this season. The vaccines are called Arexvy and Abrysvo, and the single-dose shots are approved for people aged 60 and over. They are greater than 80% effective in reducing the likelihood of severe lower respiratory complications.

Last yr's RSV season began in the summertime and peaked in October and November, sooner than usual. There isn’t any indication yet when the RSV season might peak this yr. Last yr and throughout the pandemic, RSV began as usual in Florida.