Monday, November 19, 2007

We're not antisocial, we're trying to prevent RSV.

Respiratory Syncytial Virus

Clinical features:
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the most common cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia among infants and children under 1 year of age. Illness begins most frequently with fever, runny nose, cough, and sometimes wheezing. During their first RSV infection, between 25% and 40% of infants and young children have signs or symptoms of bronchiolitis or pneumonia, and 0.5% to 2% require hospitalization. Most children recover from illness in 8 to 15 days. The majority of children hospitalized for RSV infection are under 6 months of age. RSV also causes repeated infections throughout life, usually associated with moderate-to-severe cold-like symptoms; however, severe lower respiratory tract disease may occur at any age, especially among the elderly or among those with compromised cardiac, pulmonary, or immune systems.

Above info from Centers for Disease Control

The following info was provided by a preemie mom.

Some facts about RSV and prevention:

The Season:
In the northern hemisphere RSV outbreaks begin in November, peak in January or February and end at the end of March but may last through April
In the Midwest US, the RSV season tends to last through April

The infection:
RSV is highly contagious
After RSV infection, many children will have recurrent wheezing which usually diminishes in later years
Almost all children are infected at least once by age 2 and re-infected throughout life
RSV infection in older children and adults manifests as an upper respiratory tract illness such as the common cold, runny nose, etc
In high-risk infants and immunocompromised patients, or elderly in can be a much more serious infection involving the lower respiratory tract

The epidemiology:
It is the leading cause of lower respiratory tract infections in infants and children worldwide
It is the most common cause of hospitalization in the US in children 1 yrs of age
Majority of children requiring hospitalization are 6 months of age leading to almost 2,500 deaths per year
National hospital costs annually from RSV are $400 million

Risk of infecting others:
RSV can persist on environmental surfaces such as furniture for many hours and for a half-hour or longer on hands
The incubation period ranges from 2-8 days (so if you caught it and don’t have symptoms yet, you don’t realize you have it, but can still pass it on especially to high-risk infants)
Viral shedding may continue for 3-4 weeks especially in young infants and immunocompromised patients

Careful hand hygiene, avoiding sick contacts, avoiding crowds, avoiding public places such as grocery stores, limiting visitors and avoiding school aged children are the most effective methods in preventing infection
All high-risk infants and ALL CONTACTS should be immunized against influenza (don’t forget to get your flu shots)
Synagis does not prevent infection, but it reduces the severity of infection


Kath W said...

Stay healthy prayers being said & happy turkey day!

Diana said...

Good information! After seeing kids in the NICU at Children's when we were there, I KNOW it's something I want to avoid - fortunately my girl will be born nearer to the end...

Gina (frazzledmom) said...

Good for you Jennie! I'd be doing the same, that's for sure. Here's hoping you all stay healthy and happy throughout the Holiday Season :)