Health officials say cases of the potentially life-threatening respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) have risen 40 percent in Arizona this season when compared to the same period a year earlier.
The Arizona Daily Star reports (http://bit.ly/UlYWlK) that 70 cases have been reported statewide as of Nov. 24 and that the majority of cases were reported in Maricopa, Navajo and Pinal counties.
Health officials say it's difficult to say at this point whether this season will be any different from others.
The virus typically peaks in February.
Most of the cases are in children under the age of 5.
While most children are infected with the virus by their second birthdays, only a small percentage develops severe disease.
According to the National Library of Medicine, you can catch RSV if:
A person with RSV sneezes, coughs, or blows their nose near you
You touch, kiss, or shake hands with someone who is infected by the virus
You touch your nose, eyes, or mouth after you have touched something contaminated by the virus, such as a toy or doorknob.
NLM states that the virus can live for 30 minutes or more on hands, up to five hours on countertops and for several hours on used tissues.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.