In addition to another active flu season, Georgia health officials have confirmed an unusually high number of confirmed cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
In just the first week of January, 43 of 240 patients in the 12 counties of District 4 – which includes Coweta County – tested positive for the infection. According to the most recent report from the Department of Public Health, nearly 600 Georgians have tested positive since the end of September.
RSV is a potentially deadly respiratory virus for infants, people with congenital heart and lung diseases or weakened immune systems, and people with conditions such as asthma, COPD or congestive heart failure.
Symptoms can include runny nose, decrease in appetite, coughing, sneezing, fever and wheezing. According to the CDC, symptoms usually appear in stages. These symptoms usually appear in stages and not all at once. In very young infants with RSV, the only symptoms may be irritability, decreased activity, and breathing difficulties.
RSV also can cause more severe infections such as bronchiolitis, an inflammation of the small airways in the lung, and pneumonia. It is the most common cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in infants under age 1, according to the CDC.