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Health officials warn about RSV spread as Michiganders gather for Thanksgiving

RSV Baby
Phillipe Put
Creative Commons
RSV Baby

With families gathering for Thanksgiving, health officials are concerned about the further spread of the respiratory illness RSV. The illness has been filling up hospitals with babies and young children but is also a threat to older adults.

Symptoms of RSV are very similar to the flu and can be fatal especially among very young kids and adults who are immunocompromised. Most healthy people are able to fend it off.

Susan Ringler-Cerniglia from the Washtenaw County Health Departmentsays that’s why it’s difficult to track the spread.

“But we can certainly see the impact, especially on those young children that probably haven’t had the chance to be infected with this before and haven’t built immunity to it, and they may get more sick.”

In recent weeks, children have been filling up local hospital beds. Hospitals on the west side of the state are reporting an unprecedented surge in RSV patients.

Health officials are recommending the public take precautions: washing hands, cleaning surfaces, covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze, wearing masks, and avoiding any gatherings if you are showing any symptoms.

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Josh Hakala is the general assignment reporter for the WEMU news department.
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