Published Date: 2012-02-21 15:55:13
Subject: PRO/EDR> Respiratory syncytial virus - USA: (SD), fatalities
Archive Number: 20120221.1048240
RESPIRATORY SYNCYTIAL VIRUS - USA: (SOUTH DAKOTA), FATALITIES
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International Society for Infectious Diseases
Health officials warn about outbreak of respiratory disease in SD that has killed 2
A doctor with Sanford Children's Hospital in Sioux Falls, SD, says an outbreak of a respiratory disease has forced the hospital to find more beds for sick children. Health officials say the number of cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection has been on the rise in recent weeks. They say this year's outbreak is particularly severe. State epidemiologist Lon Kightlinger says 2 people have died from it so far this year in South Dakota.
Joe Segeleon is a pediatrics critical care physician with Sanford Children's Hospital. He tells The Argus Leader newspaper (http://argusne.ws/vZPNhI) that the hospital has seen an "extraordinary jump" in the number of RSV cases. He says the hospital had to open up an auxiliary wing in the main part of the hospital because of the outbreak.
ProMED-mail from HealthMap alerts
[RSV can cause upper respiratory infections (such as colds) and lower respiratory tract infections (such as bronchiolitis and pneumonia). In children under 1 year of age, RSV is the most important cause of bronchiolitis, an inflammation of the small airways in the lung. Almost all children will have had an RSV infection by their 2nd birthday. When infants and children are exposed to RSV for the 1st time, 25 percent to 40 percent of them have signs or symptoms of bronchiolitis or pneumonia, and 0.5 percent to 2 percent will require hospitalization. Most children hospitalized for RSV infection are under 6 months of age. Infants and children infected with RSV usually show symptoms within 4 to 6 days of infection. Most will recover in 1 to 2 weeks. However, even after recovery, very young infants and children with weakened immune systems can continue to spread the virus for 1 to 3 weeks.
People of any age can contract another RSV infection, but later infections are generally less severe. The elderly and adults with chronic heart or lung disease or with immune systems weakened by medical conditions or treatments remain at high risk for developing severe RSV disease if reinfected. RSV infections generally occur in the United States from November to April, and often spread as a wave across the country. However, the timing of the season may differ among locations and from year to year. In temperate climates, RSV infections generally occur during autumn, winter, and early spring. The timing and severity of RSV circulation in a given community can vary from year to year.
Attempts to develop a safe vaccine have encountered problems and no approved vaccine is currently available. A humanised monoclonal antibody (palivizumab) is available to prevent severe RSV illness in certain infants and children who are at high risk. The drug can help prevent development of serious RSV disease, but it cannot help cure or treat children already suffering from serious RSV disease and it cannot prevent infection with RSV.
Epidemics occur annually worldwide and are frequently coincident with seasonal outbreaks of influenza and other respiratory illnesses. The current outbreak in South Dakota appears to be unusually severe. It is increasingly being observed that the elderly in care are increasingly at risk. It would be interesting to know the ages of the 2 fatal cases in South Dakota, and the case/fatality ratio.
The interactive HealthMap of South Dakota, showing the location of Sioux Falls, can be accessed at:
http://healthmap.org/r/1OXc. - Mod.CP]