Doctors see increase in cases of RSV in children since April

RSV is a common respiratory virus seen in small children during the winter months.
Published: Jun. 16, 2021 at 10:41 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 16, 2021 at 10:50 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Health experts say RSV, or Respiratory Syncytial Virus, is infecting more children during the summer months.

“Over the last six to eight weeks, we’ve seen an increase in RSV and parainfluenza-- two viruses that we commonly see in the winter months,” said Dr. Leron Finger, a chief quality officer at Children’s Hospital New Orleans.

He said that’s because of the reduced circulation of RSV in the 2020-2021 winter season. Now, children are at increased risk of the virus since they had not been exposed to it over the last 15 months.

Dr. Finger said that’s due to the public health measures that were in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19-- such as hand-washing, wearing a face masking, and social distancing.

“Remember for the last year, lots of kids haven’t gotten regular coughs and colds, so there’s a theory that everyone is slightly more susceptible than in previous years.”

RSV symptoms can look similar to COVID-19 symptoms: cough, runny nose, fever, and fatigue. But in severe cases, it can lead to hospitalization.

“All viruses, the younger you are, the sicker you can get. We’ve seen that here and across the state,” said Dr. Finger. “Kids under the age of one to two years old can get very sick with these viruses.”

Dr. Finger said it’s unclear if the virus will continue to escalate, but he wouldn’t be surprised.

“I’ve seen entire families get knocked out over the last six to eight weeks with viral crud and I think it’s gonna be here for several more weeks and potentially more months to come in the future.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a health advisory to notify clinicians and caregivers about increased interseasonal RSV activity across parts of the Southern United States. Read it here.

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