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Local uptick in RSV cases among children

Posted at 10:47 AM, Dec 11, 2019

Buffalo doctors say they're seeing an uptick in a common but potentially serious virus.

Dr. Jamie Wooldridge, a pediatric pulmonologist with Oishei Children's Hospital confirmed that there has been a spike in Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) cases. In November 2018, the hospital said it had five RSV hospitalizations compared to 40 in November of 2019.

According to Erie County Health Commissioner, Gale Burstein, RSV is a common, and very contagious, virus that infects the respiratory tract of most children before their second birthday.

For most babies and young children, the infection causes nothing more than a cold. But for a small percentage, infection with RSV can lead to serious, sometimes life-threatening problems such as pneumonia or bronchiolitis, an inflammation of the small airways of the lungs.

The County doesn't track the number of cases.

There is no vaccine for RSV. So, Burstein said the best method of prevention is frequent hand washing, and wiping off surfaces like doorknobs, counter tops, etc. She said the virus is known to live on those surfaces for hours.