RSV cases on the rise in Lancaster County

RSV cases in Lancaster County are on the rise and doctors are spreading the word on preventative measures.
Published: Oct. 25, 2022 at 10:48 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - A common illness has parents and doctors on edge. It’s called Respiratory Synchical Virus or RSV and it has Nebraska doctors bracing for a possible trifecta of illnesses this sick season - RSV, COVID, and the flu.

“We think that’s probably due to those who weren’t exposed to it in years past because of all the great social distancing and masking,” Dr. Michael Schooff at CHI Health said. “And all those fun things we were doing, because of COVID in the past.”

Dr. Schooff said the typical RSV season starts in November but according to the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department, cases have been steadily on the rise since late August. This month in the county, the department has seen 147 cases so far - a much higher number compared to September’s total of 65.

“This is not something unique right now to Lancaster County,” Communicable Disease Supervisor Tim Timmons with LLCHD said. “It’s being seen in the state of Nebraska as a whole and nationally, as well.”

Children under three are at a greater risk of serious illness. The concern is that early cases of RSV, a likely early flu season, and COVID could all cause a strain on hospitals.

“We do have increased in hospitalizations of children with these respiratory illnesses, RSV, and others. It’s not to the point of overwhelming the hospital system now,” Dr. Schooff said. “But certainly one of the things we worry about would be the trifecta of infections getting to us during this fall and winter season.”

RSV symptoms include coughing, a runny nose or difficulty breathing. But for parents, it can be difficult to spot the difference between viruses.

“The only way to know would be to see your physician and get the child tested,” Schooff said.

There currently isn’t a vaccine for RSV but health officials urge anyone six months or older to get their flu and COVID vaccine.