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'Unprecedented volumes': RSV cases in King County on the rise

Seattle Children's Hospital said they are seeing 20 to 30 Respiratory Syncytial Virus cases a day.

KING COUNTY, Wash. — There has been a rise in Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) cases in King County.

King County Health said they are expecting a particularly bad RSV season this year due to the effects of the pandemic. As social distancing measures are rolling back, people are being exposed to more viruses than they have in recent years and are often more susceptible because they haven’t been exposed recently.

The virus is especially risky for young children, older adults and people with underlying conditions. 

Dr. Russell Migita with Seattle Children's Hospital said they are seeing "unprecedented volumes" of cases. They are seeing about 20 to 30 positive cases every day, and that number is expected to increase going into late fall and winter.

There is no vaccination to protect against RSV. But, getting a seasonal flu shot and updated COVID booster will be important to help keep the community safe, according to King County Health.

Why are those vaccines important?

People can become infected with multiple viruses like COVID, flu and RSV at the same time or back-to-back. This weakens your body and makes you more prone to serious outcomes and hospitalization. So, protecting yourself and your children against flu and COVID will help your bodies better defend against RSV.

King County Health also said the healthcare system in western Washington is currently fragile. Getting vaccinated will help reduce the need for hospitalization. 

RSV Symptoms

According to the Centers for Disease Control, people who have been infected with RSV usually show symptoms within four to six days. Those symptoms include:

  • Runny nose
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Fever
  • Wheezing

Read more about RSV, including how it's cared for, on the CDC's website.

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