The Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments (GO Health) are alerting residents that cases of respiratory syncytial virus, known as RSV, are rising throughout Genesee and Orleans Counties. GO Health has also seen an increase in the presence of RSV in wastewater throughout both counties.
RSV is a common respiratory virus that can be mild for most people, but can be very harmful and serious for very young children, older adults, people with medical conditions, those born premature, or with underlying lung conditions.
Symptoms of RSV include fever, fatigue, decreased appetite, coughing, sneezing, and runny nose. These symptoms usually appear in stages and not all at once. In young infants with RSV, the only symptoms may be irritability, decreased activity, and breathing difficulties. Severe illness can result in bronchiolitis, an inflammation of the small airways in the lung, and pneumonia, an infection of the lungs. Hospitalization due to RSV is needed when a person is experiencing difficulty breathing or is dehydrated.
A vaccine is available to prevent and protect against RSV for adults aged 60 and older, infants and young children, as well as pregnant people to protect their unborn child. If you are interested in the vaccine, you are encouraged to talk with your healthcare provider and for the best protection, you should get the vaccine as soon as possible.
To protect against all respiratory viruses including RSV, COVID-19 and the flu, practice the following precautions:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing/sneezing. This may prevent those around you from getting sick. Use your elbow or shoulder to limit the spray when coughing/sneezing.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. It is especially important to wash your hands after you have coughed or sneezed into your hands or blown your nose. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Frequently disinfect shared items, like doorknobs, handrails, phones, pens, remotes, etc.
- Practice these other health habits for general health:
- Clean and disinfect touched surfaces at home, work, and school.
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Engage in 30 minutes of physical activity 3-4 days a week.
- Manage your stress. Read a book, chat with a friend, take a walk, etc.
- Drink plenty of non-alcoholic beverages.
- Eat nutritious foods.
For more information about RSV, visit the New York State Department website.
For the Genesee and Orleans Counties Wastewater Dashboard that tracks RSV, COVID-19, and flu in local sewersheds, visit the GO Health Wastewater Dashboard.
For more information on GO Health programs and services, visit GOHealthNY.org or call your respective health department at:
- Genesee County: 585-344-2580 ext. 5555
- Orleans County: 585-589-3278