Virus circulating could be confused for COVID-19, common cold


ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) — Martha Kelley, 13, was babysitting late last month for some of her father’s colleagues.

 “They have twin boys,” she said. “They’re so cute.”

She said one of the kids coughed on her. Kelley is fully vaccinated against COVID and was not wearing a mask.

“And at the time I’m like, ‘that’s pretty gross but too late to do anything now,” she said.

The next week, the teen started feeling sick; she thought it was a tough cold, but didn’t rule out COVID-19.

“I had a sore throat,” she said. “I was coughing, I was really congested.”

A trip to the doctor’s office revealed the diagnosis was Respiratory Syncytial Virus. A virus that usually hits the area in the wintertime, and is now spreading in the area. RSV can feel like you’ve got a case of COVID, and medical professionals are asking anyone with some of these symptoms, even if vaccinated, to see a doctor.

Dr. Elizabeth Murray with Golisano Children’s Hospital said RSV has been around a long time.

“So this is a germ that causes cold-like symptoms, but really profound mucus,” said Murray.

She adds RSV impacts babies and elderly the most.

She said the fact it’s circulating now in the summer is unusual. 

“This is what fills our hospitals full of patients during the flu season,” she said.

Murray said with COVID symptoms, there’s a huge overlap.

“Right now the recommendations, as both are in the community, would be to get tested for COVID if you start to have symptoms,” she said.

She also said getting tested now is crucial to detect any COVID variants in the community.

Murray said RSV is a virus, and antibiotics won’t work. She said time and rest are best. Something Kelley had been doing and she’s still on the mend. 

“I feel good, I have energy and I can do stuff. I’m a little sniffly,” she said.

Currently, the CDC says RSV is circulating in the highest numbers right now in the American South.  

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