Health Warning - More RSV Cases

12-13-05 - This time of year it seems a lot of people are sick, struggling with a runny nose and cough. It’s bad enough this year that health officials are sending out a warning.

The Oklahoma State Health Department's Disease Surveillance Network says they're noticing more cases of RSV. For most people, the virus will make you uncomfortable for a couple of weeks, but for others it's extremely dangerous.

The Respiratory Syncytial Virus can cause the common cold, but it can also develop into something worse. Children, people with compromised immune systems and the elderly are the most at risk.

The state Health Department estimates that an average of 170 adults and two children die from RSV every year in Oklahoma, and this year there has been an increase of it in the state.

In Texas it's a different story. Doctors say the season has gotten off to a slow start, but RSV could make an appearance later this winter.

Dr. Timothy Brumit, M.D., with Texoma Care, says, "A lot of years we would have had no flu, no RSV until sometimes like January or February, and we'll think of, gee, we're over that risk period, but then low and behold it all starts coming."

RSV can not be treated with antibiotics, and unlike the flu, vaccines are not readily available. There is a preventative shot, but it costs about $1,000 a dose and it's only recommended for infants considered high risk by their doctors.

RSV spreads easily. Doctors recommend anyone with a respiratory virus stay home from work or school to prevent an outbreak.