53 Saturday, January 11, 2020 20:07

Hospitals raise alarm about higher-than-normal RSV cases in young children

(CNN)Pediatricians across the United States are sounding the alarm about unusually high numbers of young children being admitted to emergency departments due to respiratory syncytial virus infection or RSV, a common virus that causes cold-like symptoms.Most people recover in a week or two from the infection, but for infants, RSV can be serious.

Baby ill? It might not be the fluIn Ohio, the Cleveland Clinic has reported seeing an unusual uptick in pediatric emergency department visits due to RSV this cold and flu season.We have had an almost 20% increase in our emergency department visits in just the last few weeks, said Dr. Purva Grover, the medical director of Cleveland Clinic Childrens pediatric emergency departments.

There have been incredibly high volumes of patients coming through this year specifically with RSV and a combination of influenza B as well, she said.Read MoreNorton Childrens Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky, has also seen a significant rise in RSV cases this season.Its been a rough season for RSV as our year-over-year numbers have doubled, Erik Martin, chief nursing officer for the hospital, said in an email on Friday.

In the last four months, Norton Childrens Hospital has diagnosed more than 800 cases. During the same time period a year ago, we had fewer than 300, he said. We also had positive RSV tests throughout the summer. Thats rather uncommon as during a typical summer we can go weeks without a confirmed case.

Most parents still rely on myths to avoid coldsIn New York, clinics and emergency departments also have seen more children for RSV this season compared to prior seasons and the season came earlier, Dr. Edith Bracho-Sanchez, a primary care pediatrician and assistant professor of pediatrics at Columbia University in New York, said in an email on Friday.

In the South, data from the Florida Department of Health shows that the percent of emergency department and urgent care center visits for RSV among children younger than 5 across the state has been much higher this season than in the previous three seasons.The peak of RSV is usually in November, December, January, said Dr.

Patricia Emmanuel, chair of pediatrics at USF Health in Tampa.It actually is a longer season in Florida -- and sometimes well see it earlier in the fall and it will sometimes go well into spring -- but we did see a real uptick in late 2019, she said.Its been a tough fall and winter for upper respiratory illnesses in generalAs for why there have been some unusually high numbers of cases and hospitalizations this current season, we dont know, Bracho-Sanchez said in her email.

It is a little hard to know exactly how much worse this season is. RSV is not a reportable infection in the way that influenza is, for example.
JUST WATCHEDRSV in babiesReplayMore Videos ...MUST WATCHRSV in babies 03:17Since RSV is not a condition that is required to be reported to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the agency does not have data on cases,.


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