Not every cough is COVID-19

July 20, 2021

Recently The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a health advisory to alert providers about increased interseasonal (spring and summer)  respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) activity across parts of the Southern United States. RSV, is a common respiratory virus that causes mild, cold-like symptoms, such as runny nose, decreased appetite, coughing, wheezing, fever, and sneezing. Most people recover in a week or two, but RSV can be serious for infants and older adults. RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis (inflammation of the small airways in the lung) and pneumonia (infection of the lungs) in children younger than 1 year of age in the United States.

RSV infections occur during the fall and winter cold and flu season in the US. In April 2020, RSV activity decreased rapidly, due to public health measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19. However, since late March 2021, CDC has observed an increase in RSV detections for both antigen and PCR testing in the Southern US (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina,Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas). Clinicians should consider testing for RSV in patients with a negative SARS-CoV-2 test and acute respiratory illness. Since many respiratory ailments have overlapping symptoms, Flow Heath offers the Respiratory Pathogen Panel (RPP), a PCR assay that detects 35 respiratory pathogens, including RSV A and B and COVID-19.

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