RSV and flu cases on the rise in Eau Claire County

Published: Dec. 2, 2022 at 7:21 PM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - The Eau Claire City-County Health Department reports RSV and flu cases are on the rise in Eau Claire County, which could lead to even higher numbers of cases as the holiday season continues.

Allison Gosbin, a public health nurse, said there have been 13 hospitalizations of influenza so far in Eau Claire County ‚which is a high number this time of year. Gosbin said this season’s cold and flu cases came earlier than in years past.

“It’s unusual for this time of year to have such high levels of influenza and RSV and it’s especially concerning right around the holidays when people are gathering more, going out into the community more and that increases the likelihood that it’s going to continue to spread and then numbers are just going to get higher,” Gosbin said.

The Learning Tree Child Care Center in Eau Claire noticed this early wave of cases. The owner, Cassandra Stoeklen, said their center has cases of children with RSV a few weeks ago and those cases were affecting more children than usual.

Normally RSV, when we have seen it in years past, has been in a lot of the infants under one,” Stoeklen said. “This time around, we noticed that it was more of the toddlers and even school-agers who were carrying it.”

To help prevent that spread, the care center reached out to parents about the outbreak.

“We just asked them if they had any flexibility to keep their children home if they were displaying any symptoms or had been exposed in any way to RSV or other illnesses at that time,” Stoeklen said.

Gosbin also emphasized staying home, and said not doing so could get others sick.

“I know with the holidays coming, that’s going to be more difficult for people as they want to get out and see their friends and families and participate in activities,” Gosbin said. “But, some of those people that you are visiting and congregating with are people that will be at a quite high risk. The elderly and young children are more at risk for both RSV and influenza.”

Gosbin said people are most contagious when they have a fever and other symptoms like coughing and sneezing continue spreading illness which is why it is so important to stay home.