Egypt education ministry enacts precautionary measures to contain RSV spread in schools

Habiba Hamdy , Wednesday 16 Nov 2022

Egypt’s Ministry of Education announced on Tuesday that it has enacted a set of precautionary measures in all of its schools to contain the spread of the Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) among students.

File photo: Students attend class on the first day of their new school year at a government school in Giza, south of Cairo,


The decision comes in response to demands by the parents on the ministry to cancel attendance to protect students against contracting the virus after many children developed cold-like symptoms. 

The ministry said on Tuesday that it will apply preventative measures in schools in cooperation with the health directorates in each governorate.

It added that it would allow students who could provide medical execuse to take make-ups for monthly exams.

Ministry of Education Spokesperson Shady Zalata said in a phone-in on Tuesday that the ministry’s measures aim to reassure the parents and protect the students from infections.

Earlier on Monday, Ministry of Health Spokesperson Hossam Abdel-Ghaffar said the RSV is responsible for most respiratory infections in Egypt this winter.

Abdel-Ghaffar explained that RSV infects mainly children, adding that every child by the age of two is likely to contract it.

The RSV is transmitted through droplets from an infected person either by direct contact, sneezing, or coughing as well as through contaminated surfaces, said Abdel-Ghaffar, adding that the average recovery time for RSV is 5-6 days.

However, the health ministry spokesperson said that some cases may take 10-14 days to recover, but as long as they are not displaying serious symptoms they only need to be quarantined until the symptoms disappear.

The virus becomes active during the cold months of the year and 98 percent of those infected will display cold-like symptoms such as fever, cough, and runny nose, Abdel-Ghaffar said.

Lack of ventilation and crowded spaces increase infections, he added.

He urged the public to wear masks and take the flu vaccination.

“Out of every 100 infected [with respiratory diseases], there are about 73 [cases of RSV] as per the surveillance procedures carried out by the preventive healthcare department,” Abdel-Ghaffar said in TV remarks on Monday.

He noted that the remaining respiratory infections are caused by other viruses, including the influenza and adenovirus, noting that all these respiratory viruses are active during fall and winter.

RSV is not new to Egypt, with many cases recorded over the past years, according to Abdel-Ghaffar.

The virus, however, appears to be causing this year's most respiratory infections and is more widespread than the coronavirus, he pointed out.

Coronavirus infections in Egypt have declined by 55 percent since August with linked deaths falling almost to zero, according to official figures.

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