7 Things to Know About RSV
What is RSV?
The respiratory virus infects the upper and lower respiratory system. As the body sends immune cells to virus-infected cells to fight the disease, it causes inflammation in the airways (nose, throat, and lungs). In adults, RSV can lead to worsening asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and congestive heart failure.
How does RSV spread?
When an infected person coughs or sneezes, the virus transmits via droplets. People can also pick up RSV when touching a surface with the virus on it and then touching their face. Small children normally pick up the virus outside of the home. Important to note, older adults over 65 are the next most susceptible group.
When is RSV season?
According to the CDC, in the United States and other areas with similar climates, RSV circulation starts during fall and peaks in the winter; however, for the last two years, the United States has seen an uptick in pediatric cases starting in the spring and summer.
Why are we seeing a surge in RSV cases?
Experts cite two reasons why we are seeing a spike in RSV cases. One is the ease of COVID-19 prevention methods like masking, social distancing, and isolation away from large gatherings. Returning to group celebrations and in-person activities have made way for easier transmission of viruses like RSV and the flu. The secondary result of those COVID-19 prevention methods is an “immunity gap” of people, especially young children not exposed to viruses, who did not build up the immunity to ward off respiratory viruses like RSV.
Are RSV and Croup the same?
Which adult groups are at the highest risk for severe RSV infection?
- Adults 65 and older
- Adults with chronic heart or lung disease
- Adults with weakened immune systems