1,000+ RSV cases reported in Washoe County since Oct. 1

by | Dec 7, 2022

Reno/Sparks, Nev. Dec. 7, 2022 – The Washoe County Health District (WCHD) is reporting an additional 263 respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) cases reported from November 27 through December 3 in Washoe County, pushing the total number of cases since the beginning of October to 1,017.

The 263 cases reported is the highest weekly total seen thus far in the respiratory virus season, which goes from October to May. The 1,017 cases reported this season is close to eclipsing the total RSV cases from the 2021-22 season, which was 1,043.

The Nevada Hospital Association (NHA) reported that pediatric hospital bed availability remains at or near 100% capacity in Nevada. While other respiratory viruses are spreading in addition to RSV (COVID-19, flu, rhinovirus, enterovirus), RSV hospitalizations account for approximately 20% of pediatric hospitalizations statewide, NHA said.

The Health District is urging residents with exposure to at-risk populations to take precautions against RSV. Those under 6 months of age (especially babies born prematurely) and older adults (especially those with chronic diseases) are most at-risk for severe illness.

RSV, which is highly contagious, can lead to more serious complications such as bronchiolitis (inflammation of the airways of the lungs) or pneumonia.

RSV Symptoms

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the symptoms of RSV usually start within four to six days after getting infected, and include:

  • Runny nose
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Fever
  • Wheezing

The CDC says for very young infants, the only RSV symptoms may be irritability, decreased activity, dehydration and breathing difficulties.

Renown Children’s Hospital, which is seeing hundreds of pediatric patients each week requiring emergency care, encourages community members to contact their child’s pediatrician for advice on caring for symptoms related to RSV, COVID-19 or the flu. Please call 9-1-1 immediately if your child is experiencing severe respiratory symptoms including difficulty breathing, poor feeding, lethargy, dehydration or apnea, Renown Health said.

RSV Prevention

According to the CDC, no RSV vaccine is available although researchers are working to develop it. In the meantime, there are a few tips to help decrease the chances of children and older adults getting RSV, per the CDC.

  • Avoid close contact with sick people
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Avoid touching faces with unwashed hands
  • If you have symptoms of RSV, stay home from school or work
  • Limit the time spent in childcare centers or other potentially contagious settings during periods of high RSV activity. This may help prevent infection and spread of the virus during the RSV season

For more information on RSV, visit our website here.

The Washoe County Health District is nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board and has jurisdiction over all public health matters in Reno, Sparks, and Washoe County through the policy-making Washoe County District Board of Health. The District consists of five divisions: Administrative Health Services, Air Quality Management, Community and Clinical Health Services, Environmental Health Services and Epidemiology & Public Health Preparedness. More info can be found here.