NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — Medical experts say this is the time of year they start seeing a rise in respiratory syncytial virus, also known as RSV.
But now, there is a new vaccine doctors say could help prevent the sometimes fatal virus.
RSV is a sickness that usually comes with cold or flu-like symptoms. But it can be fatal for people 65 and older, people with underlying health conditions, and infants.
There is no anti-biotic for RSV once you have it, so doctors say prevention is key.
The FDA has just approved the first seasonal vaccine that protects newborns against RSV. The vaccine is made by Pfizer and is given to mothers late in their pregnancies to provide protection to infants up until they are around six months old.
Studies show the vaccine was 82% effective at preventing severe RSV disease in babies in the first three months of their life.
“For premature babies or newborn babies, it can be very severe. And if we remember what happened last year, many of the neonatal intensive care children units were full because of RSV,” said the Medical Director at First District Health Unit, Dr. Casmiar Nwaigwe. “Annually there are about 300 deaths in children. But that’s too much if we can prevent it.”
Doctors also say prevention includes washing hands frequently, especially before coming into contact with an infant.
And they also don’t recommend letting anyone who doesn’t live in the household kiss your baby, even on the cheek.