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Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) 

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is an important cause of respiratory infections throughout life. RSV is the major cause of pneumonia and bronchiolitis among infants and young children. Almost all children will be infected by the age of 2 years. Symptoms vary with age. Infants younger than 6 months of age, and especially premature infants (born before 37 weeks gestation, or at least one month early), generally have the most severe symptoms and often require hospitalization. Premature infants with RSV may be irritable, drowsy, or feed poorly, but some may also stop breathing. Fever, wheezing, and cough are common symptoms in toddlers. Re-infection can occur throughout life, but in older children and healthy adults, cold symptoms are more typical.

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Surveillance in Georgia 

Seasonal epidemics of RSV occur yearly in Georgia and other temperate areas. RSV disease is expected during the fall and winter months. The Georgia Department of Public Health tracks RSV disease through laboratory reporting to the National Respiratory and Enteric Virus Surveillance System (NREVSS). In this system, each week, participating medical laboratories statewide report the number of RSV tests performed and the number of positive tests, providing useful information for RSV prevention.

In order to be consistent with the CDC, DPH has modified the RSV surveillance definition to reflect changes made to the calculation of RSV season onset and end. RSV season onset is now defined as the first week of two (2) consecutive weeks when the mean percent positive of ALL lab confirmed tests are greater than or equal to 10%. The end of RSV season is now defined as the first week of two consecutive weeks when the mean percent positive of ALL lab confirmed tests are less than 10%.

RSV Surveillance Data for Georgia, RSV Season 2013-2014 (Updated December 13, 2013) 

Participating Medical Laboratories

The Georgia Department of Public Health would like to thank the following Georgia medical laboratories that provide information for RSV surveillance by participating in the National Enteric and Respiratory Virus Surveillance System (NREVSS), which is coordinated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If you would like more information about participation in NREVSS, please visit http://www.cdc.gov/surveillance/nrevss/

Participating Medical Laboratories (Last updated March 2, 2011)

  • Athens Regional Medical Center, Athens, GA
  • Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston, Atlanta, GA
  • Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite, Atlanta, GA
  • Colquitt Regional Medical Center, Moultrie, GA
  • Columbus Regional Hospital, Columbus, GA
  • Emory University Hospital, Atlanta, GA
  • Georgia Public Health Laboratory, Decatur, GA
  • Gordon Hospital Laboratory, Calhoun, GA
  • Hutcheson Medical Center, Fort Oglethorpe, GA
  • John D Archbold Memorial Hospital, Thomasville, GA
  • Liberty Regional Medical Center, Hinesville, GA
  • Medical Center of Central Georgia, Macon, GA
  • Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, GA
  • NE Georgia Medical Center, Gainesville, GA
  • Newton Medical Center, Covington, GA
  • Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, Albany, GA
  • Polk Medical Center, Cedartown, GA
  • Satilla Regional Medical Center, Waycross, GA
  • Stephens County Hospital, Toccoa, GA
  • Wellstar Cobb, Austell, GA
  • Wellstar Douglas, Douglasville, GA
  • Wellstone Kennestone Hospital, Marietta, GA
  • West Georgia Medical Center, LaGrange, GA

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Prevention

Transmission of RSV occurs by direct or close contact with an infected person's secretions, like droplets from a sneeze or cough, or a contaminated surface (like a tissue). Infection can occur by touching the nose or mouth, or rubbing the eyes, when virus is on the hands. For this reason, hand hygiene and cough etiquette are essential to reduce RSV transmission. Other prevention measures include avoidance of sick people or crowds during RSV season, and avoiding secondary smoke inhalation. Child care providers and parents should cleanse their hands regularly with soap and water or with waterless hand sanitizer, and toys and surfaces at childcare centers should be cleaned regularly.

For premature infants who are at risk for severe complications from RSV infection, a monthly injection with palivizumab, a monoclonal antibody against RSV, is recommended during RSV season. More information about this medication is available from medical providers, and from the Georgia Chapter of American Academy of Pediatrics.