Hospital's neonatal unit has small RSV outbreak

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Memorial University Medical Center says there was a small outbreak in the hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, but it's nothing to be overly concerned about.

Respiratory Syncytial Virus is a very common virus that leads to mild, cold-like symptoms in adults and older healthy children. But it can be more serious in babies, especially to those born prematurely.

Two weeks ago, one of the infants in the NICU tested positive for the illness. More recently, two more of the premature babies tested positive. Doctors became alarmed and took immediate action to prevent the spread of the virus.

"The babies that were known to have a positive test for RSV were placed in a unit together. Those remaining babies in the unit received an immunization called Synagis," said Dr. Ramon Meguiar, Memorial Health's senior vice president and chief medical officer.

"We don't need to have anyone visiting in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit who's ill. We like to limit our outside limitation during the season. We welcome siblings to visit, but not during the RSV season because they are the carriers of the RSV," said Dr. Linda Sacks, NICU medical director.

Doctors say RSV is a seasonal illness and is found all over the world. In Georgia, the season begins in early October and ends in March or mid-April. All of the babies who tested positive for the virus are said to be fine.

Parents of former premature babies, who are at home and are under the age of one, should contact their physician about getting the proper immunization for their child.

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