Cases of a potentially life-threatening respiratory virus that mostly affects babies and young children have risen 40 percent in Arizona this season when compared with the same period last year, health officials said.
As of Nov. 24, 70 cases of respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, had been reported statewide, the Arizona Daily Star reported .
The majority of cases were in Maricopa, Navajo and Pinal counties. A dozen cases were reported in Pinal County.
Clarisse Tsang, acting infectious disease and epidemiology program manager for the Arizona Department of Health Services, said RSV typically peaks in February, so even though the numbers are up from this time last year, it's difficult to say if this season will be worse than others.
Eighty-nine percent of the Arizona cases so far this season have been in children under age 5. Most children are infected with the virus by their second birthday, but only a small percentage develops severe disease. There is no vaccine against RSV.
Symptoms include a fever, reduced appetite, runny nose, cough and wheezing. Older children and adults may have a runny nose, sore throat, headache, cough and a feeling of general sickness.
The virus also can lead to more serious illnesses, such as pneumonia and bronchiolitis, in children and adults. Some of those infected, particularly babies, may need to be hospitalized.
The virus can be spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes into the air. Direct and indirect transmissions of the virus usually occur when people touch an infectious secretion and then rub their eyes or nose.
Preventative measures include hand-washing, covering coughs, avoiding exposure to tobacco smoke and avoiding unnecessary exposure to crowds. Parents and other loved ones who have cold-like symptoms should avoid kissing children.
Tsang said parents should keep children home if they are showing any signs of illness to avoid infecting others. Doctors may prescribe an antibody treatment of monthly shots to high-risk babies and toddlers for the five months of season. But the drug can't prevent infection with the virus, it is expensive, and it can't help cure or treat children already suffering from serious respiratory syncytial virus disease.
Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Friday, May 24 2013 9:40 PM EDT2013-05-25 01:40:06 GMT
The Connecticut State Police are investigating an officer-involved shooting at multi million dollar mansion in Ridgefield. Friday night. Few details have been released, but the shooting occured at a mansionMore >
The Connecticut State Police are investigating an officer-involved shooting at multi million dollar mansion in Ridgefield. Friday night.More >
Friday, May 24 2013 6:41 PM EDT2013-05-24 22:41:15 GMT
A Message from WFSB Vice President and General Manager, Klarn DePalma: Tonight, Channel 3 Eyewitness News did not broadcast our 5:00 or 5:30 newscasts. We were not able to do so because our buildingMore >
Tonight, Channel 3 Eyewitness News did not broadcast our 5:00 or 5:30 newscasts. We were not able to do so because our building was evacuated after a bomb-threat was made against our station.More >
Friday, May 24 2013 6:21 PM EDT2013-05-24 22:21:13 GMT
The Hartford Police Department is investigating incident involving students at the West Middle School and a cell phone video. The incident is also being investigated by the Connecticut States Attorney'sMore >
The Hartford Police Department is investigating an incident involving students at the West Middle School and a cell phone video.More >
Friday, May 24 2013 7:27 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:27:43 GMT
Police in several towns are advising the public to be aware of residential break-ins that have happened when families were out attending a wake or funeral for a loved one. Glastonbury police said thereMore >
Police in several towns are advising the public to be aware of residential break-ins that have happened when families were out attending a wake or funeral for a loved one.More >
Tuesday, May 7 2013 7:00 PM EDT2013-05-07 23:00:58 GMT
In a matter of weeks, millions of periodical Cicadas will invade Connecticut for the first time in 17 years. Every 17 years, millions of Cicadas, which have big red eyes and red-orange wing veins, comeMore >
In a matter of weeks, millions of periodical cicadas will invade Connecticut for the first time in 17 years.More >
Friday, May 24 2013 12:50 PM EDT2013-05-24 16:50:15 GMT
A 14-year-old boy from Waterbury died in his sleep this week and left his parents and friends wondering why. Kimani Brown was a freshman at Crosby High School and in perfect health, according to familyMore >
A 14-year-old boy from Waterbury died in his sleep this week, leaving his parents and friends wondering why.More >
Friday, May 24 2013 6:24 PM EDT2013-05-24 22:24:01 GMT
Police are searching for the man, who exposed himself to a female jogger in Milford Friday morning. The woman was jogging in the area of Milford Point Road and Holly Street around 6 a.m., police said.More >
Police are searching for the man who exposed himself to a female jogger in Milford Friday morning.More >
Friday, May 24 2013 4:29 PM EDT2013-05-24 20:29:15 GMT
Happy Saturday, Rain is on its way – as expected – but it will not hamper the entire weekend. Early this morning, there will be low clouds, fog and drizzle in many parts of Connecticut. This will haveMore >
Friday, May 24 2013 3:02 PM EDT2013-05-24 19:02:18 GMT
Federal officials investigating last week's commuter train derailment in Connecticut say the engineer described an "unusual condition" on the track before the train derailed. The National TransportationMore >
Federal officials investigating last week's commuter train derailment in Connecticut say the engineer described an "unusual condition" on the track before the train derailed.More >