An Alaska Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Workgroup of health care providers and public health officials reviewed RSV seasonality data in past years this September and recommended administration of palivizumab (Synagis®) to qualifying infants and children during November 28, 2018 through May 22, 2019, to provide the best coverage for RSV prevention in Alaska.

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) using indirect immunofluorescence technique/CDC
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) using indirect immunofluorescence technique/CDC

The Workgroup is currently aware of at least 20 laboratory-confirmed cases of RSV since mid-October from multiple regions of the State (with highest case counts occurring in Fairbanks), including at least 10 RSV hospitalizations involving residents from Fairbanks and Anchorage.

Due to these reports of elevated RSV activity in several Alaska regions, the Workgroup voted unanimously to start palivizumab prophylaxis starting Nov. 6 rather than waiting until November 28.

RSV is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms. Most people recover in a week or two, but RSV can be serious, especially for infants and older adults. In fact, RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis (inflammation of the small airways in the lung) and pneumonia (infection of the lungs) in children younger than 1 year of age in the United States. It is also a significant cause of respiratory illness in older adults.

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