RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – It’s not just the flu that’s sending more people to the doctor’s office.
“This winter’s been a great example where there’s been a large spike in a virus called RSV,” said Dr. Cameron Wolfe, a professor at Duke University’s School of Medicine.
Cases of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) typically become more common this time of year, though Dr. Wolfe noted this season has been particularly active.
He said the disease “can absolutely make you feel miserable, can absolutely be life-threatening in really young kids.”
According to the CDC, symptoms of RSV include: runny nose, decreased appetite, coughing, sneezing, fever and wheezing. “Almost all children will have had an RSV infection by their second birthday,” the CDC notes.
Most of the time, the infection goes away in a week of two. Babies younger than six months and some older adults may end up being hospitalized if they have trouble breathing or experience dehydration, according to the CDC.
In the data released Thursday by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, the flu remained the most common respiratory viral pathogen identified in testing in the past week, with RSV being number two.
Unlike the flu, there’s no vaccine for RSV.
“But, it’s a completely different virus for which the vaccine wouldn’t have any impact on, and yet you as an individual may not know the difference,” said Dr. Wolfe. “In our mind, we think, ‘Well, hang on. I had the vaccine, and yet here I still am with an influenza-like illness.”
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