ORLANDO, Fla. - The numbers aren’t pretty. Florida is seeing an increasing number of flu cases this season -- higher than they were at this time last year. However, that’s not the only concern. FloridaHealth.gov is reporting on what could possibly a new Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), which is associated with pediatric death.
RSV is a virus that is posing serious risks to the elderly and infants.
“It’s dangerous for typically younger babies. We see more complications in younger babies because they can’t clear their mucus as well. Their immune systems are not as strong so sometimes they may need extra oxygen if they come into the hospital or they get dehydrated, they need IV fluids,” said Dr. Jeannie Moorjani.
The Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children Pediatrician says RSV presents symptoms very similar to the flu.
“To tell the difference between RSV and the flu especially this time of year can be tricky because since they’re both respiratory cold viruses they can cause a lot of the same symptoms like fevers and runny nose. The only way to really know is if a test is done,” said Dr. Moorjani.
Like the flu, RSV is highly contagious. It can be passed by simply kissing a baby.
Dr. Moorjani is recommending you keep sick people away from your baby, wash your hands frequently and even washing your baby’s toys. Dr. Moorjani says RSV season is easy to predict in the northeast, where it’s hitting hard right now.
“In Florida, it’s not as predictable. We do see it in the more in the winter months. However, we can see it in the summer too. I think it’s because of our temperate climate,” said Dr. Moorjani.
Right now, officials at South Seminole Hospital in Longwood confirm one case there, the patient is an adult.
To read more about RSV, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.