Increase in Respiratory Illnesses in Kenora Area
The Northwestern Health Unit has been informed by Lake of the Woods District Hospital of an increase in emergency room visits for respiratory illnesses for the Kenora area.
Test results from the CAVID-19 assessment centre indicate that Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is the cause for the increase in illness.
RSV is one of the many seasonal cold viruses, which can range from mild to severe. RSV can have a higher severity in infants born prematurely, infants and young children with heart or lung disease, older adults, adults with chronic lung or heart disease, and those with weakened immune systems.
Symptoms of RSV include:
- Runny nose
- Decrease in appetite
RSV cases are not reported to public health since it is often a mild cold, for this reason there is no annual count of number of cases locally, elsewhere in Canada or around the world. The recent cases were identified as RSV because of the testings for COVID-19.
The NWHU explains that exposure to viral illness is an important part of developing immunity for infants and children. Other countries have noted an increase in RSV as countries lift public health restrictions. The pandemic response restrictions may have reduced infant and young children exposure to viruses, including RSV, resulting in low immunity.
Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kit Young Hoon encourages those who have symptoms that could be a respiratory illness and fail the online screening tool for COVID-19, to get tested and self-isolate.