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DoH warns of “outbreak of respiratory illnesses” called RSV

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No evidence of community spread of COVID in the territory
Source: DoH advisory

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — In a health advisory, labeled “High Importance”, released over the weekend, the Health Department informs the public of “a recent outbreak of respiratory illnesses in the territory due to the Respiratory syncytial (sin-SISH-uhl) virus, or RSV.”

 It says that tests conducted at the DOH and LBJ Medical Center laboratories have confirmed positive cases of the virus. “RSV is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms” — such as runny nose, decrease in appetite, coughing, sneezing, fever, wheezing.

“While most healthy people recover in a week or two, RSV can be serious, especially for infants and older adults,” said DoH. “It is the most common cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in children younger than 1 year of age in the United States.”

DoH, in the health advisory, also declared that: “There is still NO EVIDENCE of SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, in the territory”.

DoH explained that there is “no specific treatment for RSV infection, but you can take steps to relieve the symptoms.”

DoH advises that anyone with flu-like symptoms should avoid going in public — including going to school or reporting to work — and should stay home until symptoms subside.

“If you are at risk for a severe respiratory infection or if you interact with older adults,” DoH offers the following recommendations for individuals to do:

• Wear a mask, or cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue

• Avoid close contact with others when one is symptomatic

• Wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds and

• Frequently clean touched surfaces

Meanwhile, DoH said COVID-19 vaccines will be distributed in Manu’a beginning Feb. 1 to Feb. 3. Please call the DoH Ta’u clinic at 677-3555 or Ofu clinic 655-1176 for more information.

For vaccination sites and information on Tutuila, call DoH hotline 219.