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Infant flu cases surpass epidemic level in Ohio

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CINCINNATI - Infant flu cases are surpassing epidemic levels in Ohio, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

CDC numbers show that infant flu has risen 40 percent in Ohio since the beginning of the flu season. That's four times higher than what is considered an epidemic level.

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is highly contagious. Babies under 32 weeks are most at risk for RSV. Like the flu, RSV is seasonal.

The CDC has released a series of tips to help prevent the spread of RSV. People who have cold-like symptoms should :

  • Cover their mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing,
  • Wash their hands often with soap and water for 15–20 seconds,
  • Avoid sharing cups and eating utensils with others, and
  • Refrain from kissing others.

There is not yet a vaccine to protect against RSV. However, for children at high risk for serious disease, monthly shots of a drug called palivizumab can help prevent serious illness during RSV season, according to the CDC. You should ask your healthcare provider if your child would be a good candidate for the drug.

List of RSV symptoms: The symptoms are like those of many other respiratory illnesses. Infants and young children may experience 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.

RSV also can lead to more serious illnesses, such as pneumonia and bronchiolitis, in young children and older adults.

Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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