Douglas County Health Department warns about norovirus, RSV

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OMAHA, Ne (FOX42KPTM) - Cases of the flu have spiked in Douglas County in the last few weeks, but health experts caution that's not all you need to be on the lookout for.

Another illness currently getting a lot of attention is called Respiratory Syncytial Virus or RSV.

"That is a common virus that comes around every winter," said Dr. Anne O'Keefe with the Douglas County Health Department. "For premature babies, it can be deadly."

A recent report from he Douglas County Health Department shows there were 13 confirmed cases in just the past week alone. Dr. O'Keefe says it's an illness that infects the lungs and breathing passages. It could turn severe, especially for young children and babies.

"If they can't catch their breath, maybe their mouth is turning blue, those are emergency signs."

Health reports show RSV took its toll on Douglas County last month, too. In a two week span there were more than 40 positive test results. Dr. O'Keefe says while it might not be possible to avoid getting this virus, there are things you can do to reduce your chances.

"If you have a young child, try not to go around people who are sick with colds. Try to avoid that if you can."

In addition to RSV, health experts say the norovirus is also back.

"We've had seven reported outbreaks this winter."

The norovirus is known to a lot of people as the stomach flu, but Dr. O'Keefe says it's not related to the flu. The flu shot, for example, won't protect you against the virus.

"You can actually get the norovirus several times in your life because there are many different strains of it and we don't know how long immunity lasts."

Health experts say the norovirus spreads easily. That's because this virus can shed billions of particles, and it only takes a few of those particles to make you sick.

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