CNMI seeing increased circulation of Respiratory Syncytial Virus
The Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. is seeing an increased circulation of Respiratory Syncytial Virus in the community, up 71% this week compared to last week.
RSV cases usually increase late in the year, but the CHCC is seeing an early spike similar to many states in the United States. Since late March, the U.S. Centers for Disease and Prevention Control has observed an increase in RSV detections reported to the National Respiratory and Enteric Virus Surveillance System, a nationwide passive, laboratory-based surveillance network.
For most children and adults, RSV causes a mild illness with cold-like symptoms, such as a runny nose, decrease in appetite, coughing, sneezing, fever, and wheezing. But for some children, especially infants and toddlers or those with risk factors like premature birth, it can cause breathing problems. Most children do not need to test for RSV since there is no special treatment for it.
Like many illnesses, the best prevention of spread is good hand hygiene, staying home if you are sick, and keeping your children home if they are sick. Supportive care at home includes hydration, gentle suctioning to clear mucous from the nose, and fever control with acetaminophen (Tylenol) and/or ibuprofen (ibuprofen only for 6 months old and above).
Seek medical care if your child has signs of working hard to breathe, such as fast breathing or using the muscles between their ribs to help with breathing; has signs of dehydration, such as urinating less than normal, sunken eyes, or not making tears when crying; has fever for three or more days; or if you have any other concerns, especially if your child has other health problems.
As always, your family’s primary care provider is the best source of information for questions or concerns, especially if your child has specific risks like extreme prematurity or lung problems. In addition to several private medical offices on island, the CHCC Children’s Clinic offers walk-in visits Monday to Friday, from 7:30am to 4:30pm (closed on holidays). For more information about the CHCC Children’s Clinic, call (670) 234-8951.
For more information about RSV, visit https://www.cdc.gov/rsv/about/symptoms.html. (PR)