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Health Agencies Ramp Up Efforts Against Rising RSV Cases

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Bijay Laxmi
New Update
Health Agencies Ramp Up Efforts Against Rising RSV Cases

In the face of an early and significant surge in cases of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with Tulsa Health Department and various health organizations, have ramped up efforts to provide protective measures, especially to the most vulnerable groups. RSV, a common respiratory virus, typically presents mild, cold-like symptoms. However, for infants, toddlers, and older adults, it can lead to severe illness or hospitalization.

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Fighting RSV: Vaccines and More

Preventive options, such as immunizations, are recommended to protect high-risk groups from severe RSV. Currently, the Tulsa Health Department is providing RSV vaccines to certain at-risk populations. The Vaccines for Children (VCF) program offers immunizations free of charge to children up to 18 years if they are uninsured, Medicaid eligible, Native American Indian, Native Alaskan, or if their insurance policy does not cover vaccines.

Alongside this, new preventive measures are being introduced. These include an RSV vaccination during pregnancy and a novel preventive antibody. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention specifically recommends the RSV vaccination during weeks 32-36 of pregnancy in September through January, or the new monoclonal antibody for infants under 8 months old in their first RSV season and some young children between 8 and 19 months old at increased risk.

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Monoclonal Antibodies: A New Hope

A new monoclonal antibody and new anti-viral vaccines are coming for the first time to provide protection against RSV. Monoclonal antibodies are clones of unique white blood cells given to augment and reinforce the body’s natural defenses. LaSalle Medical Associates clinics will be providing these breakthroughs to patients this fall.

Addressing the Rising Demand

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As winter approaches, an urgent need to meet the demand for RSV immunizations has been underscored by the White House. Senior Biden administration officials met with the makers of RSV immunizations for children to emphasize the necessity of meeting this demand urgently. In response, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expedited the release of more than 77,000 additional doses of RSV drug Beyfortus.

RSV cases in the U.S. began a sharp upward trend in the middle of October and were at the highest level since January last winter, with 4,952 cases detected through testing in the week ended Nov. 4. Hannah High, APRN, an OSF HealthCare pulmonologist, expects the virus to be rough this cold weather season, too.

RSV vaccines on the market are recommended for adults 60 years and older, pregnant women who are 32 to 36 weeks along, and children with conditions like premature birth and lung disease. Additionally, OSF OnCall offers a remote patient monitoring program for infants and toddlers with RSV and other respiratory viruses.

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