Anita S. Henderson, MD, discusses the RSV shot with WDAM

As winter approaches, the Pine Belt is already seeing an increase in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infections as well as flu and COVID-19 infections.

Anita S. Henderson, MD, a physician with Hattiesburg Clinic The Pediatric Clinic, recently discussed the importance of the RSV shot, nirsevimab, and hygiene to keep vulnerable populations safe. Dr. Henderson explained RSV is a respiratory virus that typically occurs October through March. In adults it causes a cough, cold and runny nose, but for babies and the elderly, it can cause serious disease, pneumonia, low oxygen levels, hospitalization and death. “We have a huge RSV burden in the Pine Belt, really in the entire South. Between flu, RSV and COVID-19 our respiratory virus season has been exceedingly high,” Henderson said.

Nirsevimab is a monoclonal antibody given to babies to prevent RSV. Currently, the clinic has received doses for babies under 11 pounds. According to Henderson, Sanofi, the manufacturer of the RSV shot, reported an unprecedented demand for the antibody.

“If your child is sick, if your toddler is sick, if anyone is ill at your house, make sure they wash their hands, avoid being around the babies, avoid kissing the babies,” Henderson said. “You do not want to transmit RSV to your baby.”

Henderson said to better protect children, families should also avoid large gatherings, and if possible, get their flu shots.

Follow this link to watch the interview: