Take Note! RSV infections are peaking, Covid-19 circulating at low levels, here’s what you can do

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is currently at peak circulation in the country. Picture: Joseph Mucira / Pixabay

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is currently at peak circulation in the country. Picture: Joseph Mucira / Pixabay

Published Apr 29, 2024


The Department of Health has urged the public to take extra precautionary measures to protect themselves against respiratory infections which are expected to increase over the winter season.

In a statement, the department said Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is currently at peak circulation in the country.

National spokesperson for the Department of Health, Foster Mohale said Covid-19 continues to circulate at low levels, while the influenza virus infections are starting to increase.

“The National Institute for Communicable Diseases has a surveillance system which monitors the circulation of respiratory viruses throughout the country and has notified the department that it is currently the peak season of RSV which can be confused by some people, with Covid-19 or SARS-CoV-2 due to common symptoms.

“While most diseases caused by influenza, RSV and SARS-CoV-2 viruses are mild, these viruses may cause severe illness and even death among the citizens around the country, particularly in individuals with conditions placing them at high risk of severe disease.”

The Department said influenza season is expected to start in the next few weeks.

“It is advisable for people, especially those at high risk of severe influenza (adults aged 65 years and older, people with underlying illness such as heart and lung disease and people living with HIV and tuberculosis, as well as pregnant people), to get the influenza vaccine to prevent severe health complications in case they contract this virus.”

Mohale said the Influenza vaccine is available in public clinics free of charge (on a first come-first serve basis) to people falling into the above-mentioned risk groups.

“The vaccine can also be purchased in the private sector at several pharmacies for other people who fall in the high-risk groups as well as for those who do not fall into one of the risk groups, but who would like to protect themselves from influenza.”

The Department said the influenza virus spreads mainly from one person to another by respiratory droplets and co-infections with other respiratory viruses can occur.

Here’s how you can take precaution:

– Cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing.

– Stay at home when sick.

– Do not touch your face with unwashed hands.

– Avoid close contact with others when sick such as kissing, shaking hands, and sharing cups and eating utensils.

What are the symptoms: (not limited to)

– Runny nose

– Decrease in appetite

– Coughing, sneezing, fever, and wheezing.

What should you do if you experience these symptoms:

– Parents and caregivers are urged to take their children to the nearest health facility or healthcare providers for medical attention without delay, should they experience difficulties with breathing, are not drinking enough fluids and experiencing deteriorating symptoms.

– People infected with influenza are usually contagious for three to eight days.

– Preventative measures such as wearing of masks and social distancing are recommended, especially for those who are ill.

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