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RSV continues to impact young children in CT, as doctors urge families to take precautions

A woman holding her 18-month old child as he gets vaccinated for COVID-19 at Griffin Health at Windsor Library.
Ryan Caron King
Connecticut Public
Claire Quinn holds her 18-month-old son Patrick as he’s vaccinated against COVID-19 during the Griffin Health clinic at Windsor Library.

For many health experts, the holiday season also means a season of rising respiratory cases, especially among youths and older adults.

In Connecticut, cases of respiratory syncytial virus infection (RSV) seem to have plateaued over the past few weeks, said Dr. Scott Roberts, an infectious disease specialist at Yale University.

“I always worry that with holidays, particularly Thanksgiving and Christmas, when there’s a lot of people traveling, and there’s a lot of people gathering indoors and large groups, that these are environments where viruses spread much more easily,” Roberts said.

“So I would recommend taking protections and precautions during travel, such as masking and washing hands, and then taking [COVID-19] rapid tests before the gathering and ensuring that everybody is up to date on vaccinations,” he said.

RSV is impacting children under 4 much faster than adults. Medical officials say RSV is transmitted primarily through surface areas, so it’s important for children and adults to wash their hands and keep things clean.

Manisha Juthani, commissioner of the state Department of Public Health, said the best prevention is to keep young children away from each other.

“When you have them playing with other children, and kids put things in their mouths, and they’re touching things everywhere, and you have snotty kids and you have secretions going everywhere, that’s a recipe for RSV to spread,” Juthani said.

She said many child care providers have gone back to mask wearing for prevention and protection.

“A lot of day care centers are taking measures that we all know to protect children and staff,” said Juthani. “Many are masking up because we know it works. It’s hard to do for kids, but we know that masking works for places that are particularly vulnerable.”

While the number of RSV cases in Connecticut has been leveling off, there is concern that the flu could also be challenging, especially to children, who had been practicing more proactive and preventive behaviors at the height of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Catherine is the Host of Connecticut Public’s morning talk show and podcast, Where We Live. Catherine and the WWL team focus on going beyond the headlines to bring in meaningful conversations that put Connecticut in context.

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