Kelli Duffin pays close attention to her son’s health. At the age of three he was diagnosed with cancer.
“There’s just so much risk, with them having no immune system even when they’re out of the hospital you aren’t able to go and do anything,” said Duffin.
And now comes another threat: a spike in Respiratory Syncytial Virus, or RSV.
The symptoms mimic that of a common cold, but the virus can be deadly for anyone with a weakened immune system.
“You kind of go into a new level of isolation.. You can’t go into public places,” Duffin said.
“RSV can be very serious, especially in a young child where it causes pneumonia,” said Dr. Judy MacDonald, Calgary’s medical officer of health for Alberta Health Services.
“They may stop breathing, may need to go into the ICU, may need to be intubated. ”
“Death is rare but not impossible.”
Researchers at the University of Calgary said work is underway on a vaccine for RSV.
“We are lucky enough that there are a number of vaccines in phase three in clinical trial, which is getting near the end of trial phases, close to being used in the public,” said Craig Jenne of the Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases.
Still, it could be years before it’s approved.
In the meantime, Duffin is grateful for the support she’s received from Kids Cancer Care.
“That has made our last year so much easier,” she said.
Alberta Health Services is asking anyone who is sick to avoid visiting infants, children and people with weak immune systems.