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MI health officials brace for potentially bad respiratory virus season

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Nationwide, cases of RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, have been on the rise in recent weeks.

As colder weather sets in, officials in Michigan are preparing for a potentially strong respiratory virus season.

Nationwide, cases of RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, have been on the rise in recent weeks.

RSV causes generally mild cold-like symptoms and tends to affect very young children and infants.

Michigan health professionals are watching RSV trends, though the state says it doesn’t have comprehensive data on all current cases in the state.

Michigan Chief Medical Officer Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian says she’s worried a bad virus season may be on the way.

“There are young children who haven’t seen the same types of respiratory viruses in the last couple of years, just simply because we haven’t had the same sorts of respiratory virus transmissions,” Bagdasarian said. “So, their immune systems are seeing brand new viruses."

There’s no vaccine for RSV; however, Dr. Bagdasarian advises getting a COVID booster and a flu shot this season.

“It’s preventing you from getting infected with two viruses at the same time, which is a possibility. And it’s also helping to keep folks out of the emergency room and out of the hospital, because we know that emergency rooms and hospitals are filling up right now,” she said.

Bagdasarian says many people are letting go of the preventative measures that were once widely in place during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as face masks and social distancing.

Kevin Lavery is a general assignment reporter and occasional local host for Morning Edition and All Things considered.
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