NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – It’s a virus normally seen in kids, but Nashville doctors say they’re increasingly seeing Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) in adults.
“RSV – which is another respiratory virus like flu, like COVID – [It] is more of a cough, fever. You don’t lose your sense of taste or smell. You don’t have a lot of runny noses.” said Dr. Todd Rice, Associate Professor of Medicine at the Vanderbilt Department of Medicine and Director Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Intensive Care Unit.
Dr. Rice said RSV presents itself like many other viruses with symptoms like cough or fever. Specifically, it affects the airways, making it a difficult illness for those who have compromised immune systems. “You will see outbreaks if people are in small spaces or indoors,” said Dr. Rice. “It’s way more likely to spread if you have asthma or COPD.”
While the virus is common for kids, Dr. Rice said this winter they are seeing more cases in adults than normal. “We’re seeing more of it. I think some of that is masks probably decrease the transmission of all respiratory viruses. And as we move away to less masking, we’re seeing a little bit more of transmission of the respiratory viruses, and RSV is one of those.”
RSV isn’t the only illness going around this season.
“A little bit of flu, although not a lot,” said Dr. Rice. “There’s a virus called human metapneumovirus, which is a long name for another respiratory virus that we’re starting to see a reasonable amount of. We always talk about COVID, but we still have COVID in the community.”
Rice said the best way to protect you and your family is to keep up with those pandemic practices. “It’s the kinds of things we’ve been preaching for two years. Staying away from people, six feet away, washing your hands, wearing a mask if you are indoors and around a bunch of people. There’s not a vaccine for RSV. So you can’t get a vaccine for it.”
RSV can only be confirmed by a medical test.