RSV is spreading at unusually high rates, overwhelming children’s hospitals

RSV is spreading at unusually high rates, overwhelming children’s hospitals


When Amber Sizemore and her family went out of state to celebrate her birthday last week, she hoped her youngest daughter, Regan, would try swimming. But the 15-month-old, usually energetic and adventurous, wasn’t himself Saturday.

“He hated it, and he generally likes water,” Sizemore said.

By Sunday, as the family was driving back to Ohio, the little girl was “coughing like crazy.”

“He coughed so hard, he threw up,” Sizemore said. Reagan also stopped eating and developed a fever.

When Tylenol didn’t help, Sizemore took her to urgent care and told them that RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, a common cold-like virus, was making the rounds at Raegan’s daycare, where Sizemore also works.

The test came back positive, and Reagan’s vital signs prompted emergency care personnel to take Sizemore to the hospital.

The staff at UH Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland knew as soon as they saw his vitals that they had to admit Raegan, his mother said. He needed oxygen.

“They were great here and took good care of him, but the scariest part is, if I hadn’t known in advance that he had been exposed to RSV, I might have let him cough it up,” Sizemore said. “I’m glad I didn’t wait.”

There is now an “unprecedented” increase in RSV cases among children in the US, some doctors told CNN.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not track hospitalizations or deaths for RSV as it does for the flu, but it said Thursday that cases of RSV have increased in many parts of the country.

Several children’s hospitals told CNN they are “overwhelmed” with patients at a time of year when it’s unusual to see an increase in RSV patients.

with RSV surge, UH has rainbow children There were so many patients, it went into diversion for a few days in early October, meaning it couldn’t take outpatient emergency admissions. It is now taking patients again, but it is still plagued with RSV cases.

The increase in Connecticut has been so dramatic that Connecticut Children’s Hospital is coordinating with the governor and commissioner of public health to determine whether to bring in the National Guard to increase its capacity to care for these young patients.

“I’ve been doing this for a long time. I’ve been at Connecticut Children’s for 25 years, and I’ve never seen this level of hospitalizations at our hospital specifically for RSV,” Dr. Juan Salazar, the hospital’s executive vice president and physician in chief, told CNN.

In Texas, where RSV cases typically spike in December or January, Cook Children’s Emergency Department and its urgent cares in Fort Worth are seeing a significant number of RSV cases. About half of the ICU is filled with RSV cases, said hospital spokeswoman Kim Brown; Between October 2 and 8, there were 210 RSV cases at Cook Children’s; A week later, there were 288.

Jeff and Joey Green’s 4-month-old Lindy was admitted to Cooke on Sunday.

At the hospital, at one point Lindy’s fever was so high that they used ice packs to cool her down.

“I don’t know how but she slept with those ice packs on her,” Joey Green said holding an exhausted Lindy at the hospital. He said they are trying to keep him hydrated so he doesn’t have to go back on the IV.

“We want him to get better, for sure.”

Dr. Mallory Davis, an infection preventionist at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan, is also growing early.

“We’re very full, and our census numbers are quite high as we work through figuring out how to accommodate all the sick kids in the community,” she said.

Children’s Hospital Colorado has seen an initial uptick in RSV hospitalizations and is starting to see the first few flu cases of the season, said Dr. Kevin Messaker, an infectious disease specialist and associate professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

“We’ve seen an increase in cases since late summer, starting with rhinovirus and enterovirus as children return to school, and now being driven by RSV and parainfluenza,” he said. “With the rapid onset of influenza season, which appears to be an early start, we are concerned about the continued increase in sick children requiring hospitalization.”

At UH Rainbow Babies, staff are hoping things don’t get any worse. “I mean, I hope we’re peaking now, because if we’re not, then holy hell,” said Dr. Amy Edwards, associate medical director of pediatric infection control.

RSV cases can often fill hospitals, even in the regular season, because there aren’t many treatments and severe cases can require several days of supportive care, Edwards said.

Sick children “need oxygen support, so they can’t stay at home,” she said.

Experts believe that the current stage of the Covid-19 pandemic in which US cases are likely to increase.

As everyone stayed home in 2020 and 2021 to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, it seemed the typical RSV season had changed. The number of cases was low, and it created a “The immunity gap.”

Children who usually caught the virus in those years are catching it now.

The CDC states that most children will catch RSV at some point before age 2. It is a highly contagious virus that does not often cause serious illness, except in adults get older or in some infants and children with chronic heart or lung disease or a weakened immune system.

There is no specific treatment for RSV and no vaccine. Symptoms usually last a week or two and clear up with plenty of fluids and rest.

For some children, however, it can be a much more serious disease. RSV can be especially dangerous for preemies, newborns, children with weakened immune systems or neuromuscular disorders, and those younger than 2 years of age with chronic lung and heart disease. CDC says.

RSV can develop Bronchiolitis, in which the small airways may become inflamed and congested, or pneumonia may occur. A child may need to stay in the hospital to receive supplemental oxygen or even mechanical ventilation to help them breathe.

An infected person can pass on RSV through coughing or sneezing. If respiratory droplets land on a surface like a doorknob or desk and someone else touches it and then touches their face, they can get sick.

RSV symptoms

  • RSV is a common virus, but it can cause serious illness, especially in young children and older adults. Symptoms may appear intermittently and not simultaneously, respectively US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Symptoms include:
  • a cold
  • loss of appetite
  • Coughing and sneezing
  • fever
  • scent
  • “In very young children with RSV, the only symptoms may be irritability, decreased activity, and shortness of breath,” according to the CDC.
  • It’s usually such a mild illness that adults often don’t realize they have it, or they think it’s nothing more than a cold or allergies and go on to contact others.

    “It’s not a debilitating virus like influenza or Covid, so you feel really good,” Edwards said. “And then what happens is, your neighbor has that cute baby and you bring a casserole and you kiss that little baby because it makes you feel good. You don’t feel sick. And unfortunately, you pass it on to them and sometimes they end up in the hospital.”

    Older siblings can also spread the virus to younger ones.

    “Kids jump over toys and each other and everything else, so day care goes through that as well,” Edwards said.

    If your child is coughing or lethargic, or if they don’t feel like themselves, it’s a good idea to take them to the pediatrician. It will be tested at the doctor’s office to determine if it is RSV, the flu, Covid-19 or strep.

    Pediatricians call a trip to the ER may be required If a child is dehydrated; if their breathing is difficult, labored, shallow or rapid; if they have a high fever or bluish skin; Or if they become unresponsive. The CDC says most improve with supportive care and can often go home after one some days.

    The best way to prevent RSV infection, doctors say, is to teach children to cough and sneeze into tissues or their elbows instead of their hands. Also try to keep frequently touched surfaces clean.

    “Hand hygiene is the single most important thing we can do to keep ourselves and others safe,” said Davis of Children’s Hospital of Grand Rapids. He tells people not to touch their faces unless they have recently washed their hands.

    When children or adults are sick, they need to do one thing and one thing only, he said: “Stay home when you’re sick so you don’t spread respiratory illnesses.”

    Sizemore, whose daughter is still in the hospital with RSV but appears to be doing well, also advises people to take the virus seriously.

    “I want other parents not to take their child’s cough lightly and not take the symptoms seriously,” she said. “It could have been a much worse situation if we didn’t get Reagan’s help.”

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