OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. (WXYZ) — Just in the last month, there’s been a sharp increase in cases of RSV, respiratory syncytial virus. And, that’s why Oakland County has sounded the alarm.
Right now, children four years old and younger are filling emergency rooms across southeast Michigan due to RSV. And, it’s our littlest ones that are most at risk of developing severe illness, specifically premature infants, children younger than two-years-old who have chronic lung or heart conditions, and children with weakened immune systems.
If infected, these high-risk kids could develop bronchiolitis, which is inflammation of the small airways in the lung, or pneumonia which is an infection of the lungs.
Symptoms to look out for include:
· Fast breathing or difficulty breathing
· Severe cough
· Poor feeding or appetite
· Unusual fatigue
· High fever
· Bluish color of the skin
If any child or adult develops these symptoms, please seek medical attention immediately.
But, there is good news regarding a vaccine. After promising trial results for maternal RSV vaccine, Pfizer says it will seek FDA approval this year.
Pfizer’s clinical trial involved 7,400 pregnant women and infants in 18 countries. Those who received the vaccine, and not a placebo, were given a single dose during the late second to third trimester.
The vaccine was designed to pass maternal antibodies through the placenta and protect the baby following birth.
Here’s what the trial data showed.
The vaccine was about 80% effective at preventing severe RSV disease in babies through the first three months of life. And cut the infant’s risk of seeing a doctor because of an RSV infection by half compared to a placebo.
This is great news and Pfizer plans to submit the data for United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval by the end of the year.
In the meantime, everyone should take steps to prevent the spread of RSV and other respiratory illnesses. They include:
• Get vaccinated or boosted for COVID-19 and get the flu shot too
• If you’re sick, please stay home - if you can’t please wear a mask
• And wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
For most people, RSV typically causes mild, cold-like symptoms. And for the most part, you can’t tell if you have RSV or the common cold. That’s why it’s important that if you develop any cold-like symptoms to limit or stay away from young children who are at high risk of getting very sick.
Let’s do our best to keep our loved ones safe.