The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert to medical providers that there has been a rise in respiratory syncytial virus, more commonly known as RSV.
The rise in cases has been observed in the southeastern part of the U.S., the CDC says.
“Historically, such regional increases have predicted the beginning of RSV season nationally, with increased RSV activity spreading north and west over the following 2–3 months,” the CDC warned in its alert. This timing is typical of what health care professionals generally see. RSV is known to start spreading in the fall and peak in the winter.
The virus is not a major concern for most people, who would likely only experience cold-like symptoms. However, the virus can lead to severe outcomes in young children and older adults.
The CDC is advising providers to become more familiar with new RSV prevention options. They include monoclonal antibody products that can be used to protect some infants and young children at higher risk for severe RSV.
The health agency is also reminding clinicians that RSV vaccines are now available for the first time. Adults 60 years and older are eligible for the vaccine.
The CDC estimates that RSV contributes to about 10,000 deaths among adults 65 and older every year. Between 100 and 300 children under 5 die from the virus annually, the CDC says.