Increased Inter-Seasonal Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Activity Detected in California

MONO COUNTY, Calif. (NOVEMBER 16, 2021) – Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a health advisory (Advisory) about an increase in Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) disease activity in various parts of the country.  While not explicitly called out in their Advisory, an increase in RSV has also been detected here in Mono County.  Mono County Public Health urges parents to monitor for symptoms of RSV in their children. 

RSV is a common respiratory virus that can infect people of all ages.  In fact, it is so common that most children have been infected with the virus by age two.  Most people, including infants, usually develop only mild symptoms similar to that of a common cold, with congestion, runny nose, and cough.  But for some, RSV can be severe, and even life-threatening.

The symptoms of RSV include:

Mild cold symptoms like congestion, runny nose, fever, cough, and sore throat.  Very young infants may be irritable, fatigued and have breathing difficulties.  Normally these symptoms will clear up on their own in a few days.
A barking or wheezing cough can be one of the first signs of a more serious illness.  In these instances, the virus has spread to the lower respiratory tract, causing inflammation of the small airways entering the lungs.  This can lead to pneumonia or bronchiolitis.

Infants with severe RSV will have short, shallow, and rapid breathing.  This can be identified by "caving-in" of the chest in between the ribs and under the ribs (chest wall retractions), "spreading-out" of the nostrils with every breath (nasal flaring), and abnormally fast breathing. In addition, their mouth, lips and fingernails may turn a bluish color due to lack of oxygen.

Health officials have seen an increase in RSV cases in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and other states. 

You should call your doctor if you or your child is having trouble breathing, has poor appetite or decreased activity level, cold symptoms that become severe, or a shallow cough that continues throughout the day and night.

For more information, questions, or concerns, please call Mono County Public Health at (760) 924-1830 or follow up with your pediatrician or medical provider.