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May 30, 2022

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) recently issued a warning for higher than usual Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) circulation this season. According to the NICD, RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis and lower respiratory tract illness (LRTI) among young children.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines RSV, is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms. Most people recover in a week or two, but RSV can be serious, especially for infants and older adults.

According to the NICD warning, RSV has been detected in 19% (105/529) of children aged 5 years and younger. The increase was first identified during the month of February 2022 and the confirmed cases seem to be on the rise.

Transmission and symptoms

Much like influenza and to an extent COVID-19, RSV can spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes and you get virus droplets from a cough or sneeze in your eyes, nose, or mouth. It’s also transmissible when one touches a surface contaminated with the virus, for example a countertop, toy or a doorknob and then touches their face before washing their hands. The virus can contaminate surfaces for days. The CDC suggests that kissing the face of a person with RSV is also another form of direct contact with the virus.

RSV is common disease, and it is easily transmissible, likened to flu its symptoms include:

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

Preventing RSV

The COVID-19 lockdown and restrictions played a big part in suppressing RSV in the past two years.

The non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) that are used to prevent COVID-19 work well for RSV. It is, therefore, important to continue wearing a mask, washing, or sanitizing your hands regularly and social distancing.

According to News Medical Life Sciences “Implementation of NPIs had significant effects, including the decreased circulation of communicable respiratory pathogens, with a record low number of infections of RSV and influenza reported in 2020”.

How to manage RSV

RSV does not have a cure yet, it is important to manage and treat the symptoms, both in children and adults. Talk to your health care provider for the best medicine to manage the symptoms. On Bestmed’s Rhythm range, members get as many doctor’s consultations as are medically necessary to get healthy.

More about RSV

The NICD conducted an interview on eNews Channel Africa (eNCA), please click here for more information regarding RSV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_EeYoQ5vHo


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) | CDC.
National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD): https://www.nicd.ac.za/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/RSV-season-has-started_March-2022_Final.pdf
News Medical Life Sciences: https://www.news-medical.net/?tag=/Respiratory-Syncytial-Virus

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