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RSV cases decline at Gundersen Health System, but may return early

Gundersen Health System
Gundersen Health System(WEAU)
Updated: Jun. 11, 2021 at 5:21 PM CDT
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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) - Gundersen Health System saw a decline in a common respiratory virus last year, but health officials fear it may come back even earlier this year.

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms.

While most people recover in a week or two, RSV can cause serious health problems for infants and older adults.

Gundersen Pediatric Pharmacist Scott Eppley says RSV season typically runs from November-March, and the hospital usually sees a handful of RSV patients every week.

However, Eppley says RSV was virtually nonexistent during this past season, with case numbers showing a steep decline.

Eppley says social distancing and masking likely contributed to the drop-off, as RSV is normally spread like the common cold.

Now, health officials are expecting RSV to return earlier than normal this year, which is already happening in some parts of the country.

“There are some states in the U.S. that are already seeing pretty high levels of RSV, especially some southern states, which could be a precursor to our region having an early start as well,” Eppley said.

The CDC has issued a health advisory network warning to doctors and other health care providers to be on alert for RSV.

The agency is advising more testing for patients who show signs of acute respiratory illness who test negative for COVID-19.

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