August 19, 2021
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has issued an advisory urging health care providers to consider testing for additional respiratory pathogens besides SARS-CoV-2, including Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). According to CDPH, California is seeing an increasing number of off-season RSV infections, the most common cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in infants and a cause of severe disease in adults older than age 65 years. Although RSV typically circulates during the winter, RSV infections have been increasing this summer throughout the United States.
Persons with RSV infection typically have fever, cough, wheezing and runny nose. Infants and young children may be irritable, lethargic, feed poorly and have no fever. Consider testing for RSV in patients with respiratory symptoms, especially those who test negative for COVID-19.
Providers are also encouraged to administer prophylactic palivizumab to high-risk infants and young children. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently published interim guidance for using palivizumab during the current increase in RSV infections to supplement its standard recommendations for prophylaxis.
It is unknown how long this increased activity will continue. As a reminder, persons with acute respiratory symptoms should stay home while ill, especially those who work in health care, childcare, or long-term care.