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RSV illnesses remain high in the Treasure Valley, CDH encourages taking steps to reduce risk

Posted at 5:36 PM, Jan 17, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-18 12:04:24-05

BOISE, Idaho — Central District Health is encouraging Idahoans to take steps to reduce the risk of severe respiratory illnesses. CDH says new case numbers are slowing, but the overall count remains high.

"First, we are already a low vaccination state as it is," CDH Communicable Disease Control Manager Dillin Richards said.

Every state in the U.S. has at least 50% of its population fully vaccinated. But according to the CDC, Idaho is in the bottom ten states regarding full covid vaccination rates, which also impacts flu vaccinations.

Health officials say that might be one of the reasons we are seeing a high case count, among other factors.

"In addition, we are in a colder climate compared to other states from the United States. So individuals are going to be closer together in buildings," said Richards.

The surge in Respiratory Syncytial Virus this season has led to a recent shortage of medications used to treat common childhood illnesses, but Walgreens just lifted its per-customer limit on online orders for children's fever medicine.

CDH says their preparedness team is working on getting Tamiflu® to the public to help with the shortage; while those shortages shouldn't contribute to more cases, a lack of treatment can lead to more hospitalizations or longer infectious periods.

"Cases are still higher than we would like to see, and that's where those mitigation strategies come in," said Richards.

To reduce the risk of illness, health officials continue to suggest washing your hands frequently, wearing a mask, and staying away from sick individuals to prevent respiratory illnesses from spreading.