JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The nation has seen a surge in Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection (RSV) cases in fall of 2022, helping the “tripledemic” to form.
RSV is a common respiratory virus with symptoms that mimic traditional colds. It’s most prevalent in winter, along with colds and influenza, and typically hits the vulnerably young and the very old.
According to University of Mississippi Medical Center experts, it’s just as easy for younger adults to catch some form of the common respiratory virus – regardless of age.
“Cases of adults with RSV are varied, in terms of age, but usually not severe enough to require hospitalization,” said Dr. Bhagy Navalkele, associate professor of infectious diseases and medical director for infection prevention. Navalkele pointed out the most common respiratory ailments that affect adults last about seven to 10 days and can be treated easily with supportive care and over-the-counter decongestants.
Nationally, the virus has hit all age groups harder than usual this winter. Hospitalization rates for older adults have surged at a rate 10 times higher than last cold-and-cough season.
Still, adults who know their exposure to RSV via young children – particularly first-time parents – need to stay vigilant because winter is still considered the prime time of year for the illness.
Symptoms of RSV, flu and the common cold can be similar in adults, so diagnostic testing is the way to go especially if coughs, sore throat, chest congestion, runny nose and instances of fever seem to linger for too long, UMMC experts advise.
Testing for RSV, COVID-19 and flu is available for any symptomatic patient in the ER or hospitalized. Tests for each are also available at most UMMC outpatient clinics, including the Pavilion, Jackson Medical Mall, Lakeland and Flowood.
At this time, there is no proven vaccine exists against RSV.