RSV vaccine study underway in Kansas

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A warning Tuesday night from a Kansas woman recovering from respiratory syncytial virus or RSV.

While RSV is commonly known as an illness for infants, one doctor in Wichita said many people 60 years and older are getting the virus.

The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases considers RSV a “hidden epidemic” among people 60 and older.

“When I woke up, there is a board with the RN on duty, and it states all your vitals, and there was that RSV. I didn’t know what that meant. I didn’t,” said Billie Easton.

What Billie Easton thought was a typical cold got much worse. Easton spent two weeks in the hospital and on a ventilator recovering from RSV, finally waking up on her and her husband’s anniversary.

“I woke up, and I thought what has happened, and I saw Jim sitting on the corner with balloons, and I couldn’t talk because something was blocking. I didn’t know what was going on,” said Easton.

Every year about 177,000 people are hospitalized from RSV, and 14,000 people die.

“The focus on adults and the devastating effect it can have on adults, that is a new focus,” said Dr. Terry Klein.

Dr. Terry Klein, the medical director at AMR in Wichita, said more people are being diagnosed with RSV through PRC tests since the pandemic began. Dr. Klein said that’s why he leads a vaccine trial in Wichita.

“This will save lives, the better that it is accepted, the more global the application, the more herd immunity we will have,” said Dr. Klein.

Easton said she has been recovering well since leaving the hospital, only having to use oxygen at night to sleep, but she has learned that is not the case for many.

If you would like more information about the vaccine study, click here.

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