The VI Department of Health (VIDOH) reports the presence of the respiratory syncytial virus in the community. Respiratory syncytial virus also known as RSV is a respiratory infection typically experienced by children but can also affect adults and present with severe complications in those with weakened immune systems. RSV is extremely common in children less than 2 years of age and usually causes mild symptoms such as fever, cough, and runny nose. However, it can also cause pneumonia or bronchiolitis, which are lung infections requiring oxygen and antibiotics in a hospital setting. RSV can cause various complications depending on a person’s age and health status.
National RSV cases are high with a significant rise in pediatric hospitalizations. V.I. hospitals report several treated cases of RSV in the fall months. The Schneider Regional Medical Center reports 6 hospitalizations and the Juan F. Luis Medical Center reports 1 hospitalization during this fall season.
RSV, influenza, and COVID-19 can cause very similar symptoms and complications. Coinfections with more than 1 of these viruses can occur and cause worse outcomes. Therefore, the VIDOH is urging parents to vaccinate their children ages 6 months and older against influenza and COVID-19. There is currently no vaccine for RSV. Please conduct respiratory hygiene with frequent hand-washing, coughing into elbows/tissue, and staying at home while sick.