If you thought Covid-19 was the only virus Alabama will have to deal with during 2021, I'm sorry to disappoint you. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recently issued a warning that a virus is spreading throughout Alabama and many other states. Unfortunately, it can be fatal for infants and elderly people.
It's called respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and causes 58,000 hospitalizations in children under five, with 100-500 fatalities and 177,000 hospitalizations in people 65 and over, with 14,000 deaths. Quoting the statement from the CDC:
"RSV is an RNA virus of the genus Orthopneumovirus, family Pneumoviridae, primarily spread via respiratory droplets when a person coughs or sneezes, and through direct contact with a contaminated surface. RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in children under one year of age in the United States. In addition, infants, young children, and older adults with chronic medical conditions are at risk of severe disease from RSV infection."
According to the Cleveland Clinic, Common symptoms of RSV in infants include a runny nose, a decrease in appetite, sneezing and coughing, and also a fever (temperature above 100 degrees Fahrenheit). But it's worth noting that other symptoms may be present. These include:
- Decreased appetite.
- More tired than usual.
- Pauses in breathing.
The symptoms of RSV are somewhat similar to Covid-19. Therefore, the CDC has encouraged "broader testing for RSV among patients presenting with acute respiratory illness who test negative for Covid-19." After all, it's important to reduce the transmission of disease (as much as possible) within the state of Alabama.
RSV patients may require oxygen, intubation, and/or artificial ventilation while in the hospital. And while it might sound scary, it's important to remember that with this sort of treatment, the majority of patients improve and are discharged within a few days.
Are you concerned about viruses and diseases in Alabama? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. And if you think more people should read this article, share it on social media.
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