Respiratory viruses are the most frequent cause agents of disease in humans, with significant impact on morbidity (illness/disease) and mortality (death) worldwide, mainly in children (Science Direct). Though hundreds of different viruses can be considered respiratory viruses, we want to provide you with a single place for the latest updates on the following, more prevalent, respiratory illnesses in our community.


  • Vaccine update as of February 28, 2024. All people ages 65 years and older should receive 1 additional dose of any updated (2023–2024 Formula) COVID-19 vaccine. (Notice)
  • Variants happen. A variant is a change in the virus. A new variant may infect people more easily, spread faster, or cause people to get sicker. The CDC uses multiple systems to know which variants are circulating and nearly all currently circulating in the U.S. would work with the updated 2023-2024 COVID-19 vaccines. (Notice)
  • Getting multiple vaccines at the same time is safe. The CDC has reviewed the available scientific evidence and concluded that people may get flu, COVID-19, and RSV vaccines at the same visit. (Details)


Report a Positive Home Test

If you have taken an at home test and it was positive, please complete a Positive Home Test Report. There is no need to call if you complete this form unless you have specific questions that you need answered. If you have questions about reporting or need to speak to someone please call (573)335-7846 and ask for a contact tracer.

Positive Home Test Report



The best way to keep you and your community safe is to get vaccinated. The Cape Girardeau County Public Health Center is now vaccinating ages 6 months and up.

We follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines but we recommend personal due diligence and talking to your healthcare provider, especially if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, to ensure you have the best guidance about COVID-19 vaccination, its safety and effectiveness.

The FDA requires that vaccine recipients or their caregivers are provided with vaccine-specific information to help make an informed decision about vaccination. This information can be found in fact sheets that are available via the FDA's website at: COVID-19 Vaccines. For COVID-19 Vaccination Clinical & Professional Resources, click here.

CDC recommends the 2023-2024 COVID-19 updated vaccine for everyone 6 months and older to protect against serious illness (notice). As of February 28, 2024, they also recommend that adults ages 65 years and over receive an additional updated 2023-2024 COVID-19 vaccine dose (notice). The updated vaccines – from Pfizer and Moderna – more closely target currently circulating strains of coronavirus. Here are 5 things to know to avoid misconceptions about the vaccine, and information about vaccine access. To find vaccines near you, visit

The Cape Girardeau County Public Health Center currently offers the Moderna vaccine for people ages 12 and up. To schedule your vaccine, please contact us. If your child is a Rural Health Clinic patient, please call 573-335-2229 for an appointment.

Schedule Vaccine Appointment



The most effective strategies to protect against the spread of COVID-19 continues to include testing. Anyone with any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 should get tested, regardless of vaccination status or prior infection. Make sure you test at the right time with this guidance:

  • If you have symptoms, test immediately.
  • If you do not have symptoms but have been exposed to the virus, wait at least 5 full days after your exposure before testing.

Testing can be helpful even when you don’t have symptoms or a recent exposure to COVID-19, such as before an event or visiting someone at higher risk of severe illness. In those cases, test as close to the time of the event/visit as possible (at least within 1-2 days) to help you make informed decisions about your health and your risk of spreading COVID-19 to others.

For more information, visit Getting a COVID-19 Test or find a community-based testing site near you. If you have home test kits, be sure to check FDA's website (here) to see if your COVID-19 tests' expiration dates have been extended. Uninsured people who are symptomatic or exposed can use this Testing Locator to search for a no-cost COVID-19 testing option.

Find Testing Near You



There are many ways your actions can help protect you, your household, and your community from severe illness from COVID-19. CDC’s COVID-19 hospital admission levels – which replaced COVID-19 Community Levels – provide information about the amount of severe illness in the community where you are located to help you decide when to take action to protect yourself and others.

For additional prevention strategies, visit the CDC's How To Protect Yourself and Others


    Be familiar with the common symptoms associated with COVID-19. If you're feeling sick, stay home and away from others (including those you live with who are not sick) and do your part to prevent the spread of your respiratory virus. Seek health care promptly for testing and/or treatment if you have risk factors for severe illness.

    These treatment options may help lower your risk of severe illness: COVID-19 Treatments and Medications.


    • The U.S. 2023-2024 flu vaccines were updated to include the strains that are most likely to circulate during this year’s flu season. They have a similar vaccine composition as the 2023 Southern Hemisphere flu vaccines and have also been proven safe and effective for people with any form of an egg allergy (last year, there were additional safety measures to vaccinate people with egg allergies).  
    • The CDC recommends that most people receive any approved, age-appropriate flu vaccine for immune protection. Last flu season started early in the U.S., with activity increasing nationally at the beginning of October 2022 and peaking in early-December 2022. To prepare for this flu season, it is advised to get vaccinated before the end of October.



    Seasonal flu vaccines are designed to protect against infection and illness caused by the flu viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming flu season. How well flu vaccines work (or their ability to protect against a certain outcome) can vary from season to season. One factor in its effectiveness is how well the vaccines “match” the flu viruses spreading in the community.

    The U.S. 2023-2024 flu vaccines were updated to include the strains that are most likely to circulate during this year’s flu season. They have a similar vaccine virus composition as the 2023 Southern Hemisphere flu vaccines, and are single-dose quadrivalent vaccines (4 components). All updated vaccines have also been proven safe and effective for people with any form of an egg allergy (last year, there were additional safety measures to vaccinate people with egg allergies).

    Flu vaccines do not protect against infection and illness caused by other viruses that also can cause flu-like symptoms, such as COVID-19, RSV, or the common cold. It is safe and effective to receive multiple immunizations, such as the flu and COVID-19 vaccines, during the same vaccination appointment. Check with your healthcare provider if you have questions about getting multiple vaccinations at one time. To see the specific benefits of the flu vaccine, click here.

    Everyone age 6 months and older should receive a flu vaccine dose each year, with limited exceptions. To protect those who are at higher risk of developing serious flu complications, it is especially important if you are: 65 and older, pregnant, a child 5 and younger, an adult with certain chronic conditions (e.g. asthma, heart disease, diabetes).

    The U.S. 2023-2024 flu vaccines are available at the Cape Girardeau County Public Health Center. Flu community clinics – including drive-thru – are offered to the public during the months of October and November with no appointment necessary (check our calendar for clinic events). To schedule your vaccine otherwise, please contact us.

    Schedule Vaccine Appointment



    A number of tests are available to detect flu viruses in respiratory specimens. However, while your doctor may test you for flu, not everyone who goes to the doctor with flu-like symptoms will be tested. After evaluating you, your doctor may choose to diagnose you with flu without the need for testing based on your symptoms and his or her own clinical judgement. Please visit Diagnosing Flu for more information.


    The best way to reduce your risk from seasonal flu and its potentially serious complications is to get vaccinated every year. For everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs, click here.

    "On average, 26.8 million Americans become infected with the flu every year."


    Most people with flu have mild illness and do not need medical care or antiviral drugs. If you have flu symptoms, in most cases, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people except to get medical care. For more information about what to do if you get sick, click here.

    If, however, you are at higher risk of serious flu complications and you get flu symptoms, check with your doctor promptly. People at higher risk of flu complications include young children, adults 65 years of age and older, pregnant people, and people with certain medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease.

    Antiviral drugs are available as treatment but they work best when started early, such as 1-2 days after flu symptoms begin. For people at higher risk of serious flu complications, treatment with influenza antiviral drugs can mean the difference between milder or more serious illness possibly resulting in a hospital stay.


    • RSV can cause serious illness in infants, young children, and older adults. To target this risk, the CDC announced new recommendations: an RSV vaccine for people who are 32-36 weeks pregnant; a new RSV immunization called nirsevimab to protect babies and toddlers; and an RSV vaccine for older adults (60 and older) that involves talking to their healthcare provider about whether the vaccine is best for them at this time.(Notice)
    • RSV immunizations should be received before or during the early fall, between September and October. This is to ensure the immune system has time to prepare for possible exposure before possible transmission peaks during the late fall and winter months.


    Immunization against RSV can help prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and death for infants, toddlers, and older adults – groups who are most at-risk.

    New recommendations to protect against severe RSV are for:

    • Adults 60 and over – talk to your doctor first to see if the RSV vaccine is best for you.
    • All babies – choose protection with either an RSV vaccine given during pregnancy or an RSV immunization give to infants and older babies (most infants do not need both).
      • An RSV vaccine for people who are 32-36 weeks pregnant (usually given Sep-Jan).
      • An RSV antibody for babies (younger than 8 months) who are born or entering their first RSV season. A small number of older babies (8-19 months) who have a high risk of severe RSV illness can get immunization for their second RSV season.

    "RSV can also cause other serious infections, such as bronchiolitis, which causes lung inflammation, and pneumonia, which is a severe lung infection. RSV is the most common cause of these serious infections in children younger than 1 year of age."

    RSV vaccinations for older adults are available at the Cape Girardeau County Health Center. Anyone interested in the RVS vaccine should consult with their physician for guidance. For older adults, a written order from their physician will be needed to receive the vaccine at our health center. To schedule your vaccine and ensure availability, please contact us.

    Schedule Vaccine Appointment



    Most people who get an RSV infection will have mild illness and will recover in a week or two. However, some people – infants and young children, and older adults – are more likely to develop severe RSV infection and may need to be hospitalized.

    People infected with RSV usually show symptoms within 4 to 6 days after getting infected. Those with symptoms who are at higher risk for severe illness should consult with their healthcare provider. Several types of laboratory tests are available for confirming RSV infection.

    Almost all children will have had an RSV infection by their second birthday.


    Remember, RSV is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms. However, it can be dangerous for babies, toddlers, and older adults.

    The best prevention for those most vulnerable for severe illness, is through immunizations recently recommended by the CDC. For others, everyday preventive actions can reduce the spread of RSV.


    Antiviral medication is not routinely recommended to fight infection. Most RSV infections go away on their own in a week or two. For steps to relieve symptoms, click here.

    Infants, young children, and older adults with symptoms should check with their doctor promptly. If you or your child is having difficulty breathing, not drinking enough fluids, or experiencing worsening symptoms, see a doctor urgently.