Le Bonheur Children’s sees rise in RSV following CDC warning to southern U.S.

Published: Jul. 14, 2021 at 5:02 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - As medical professionals continue to battle COVID-19 cases found in children, another virus is gaining momentum: Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

“We saw a few months ago that the cases were rising in Florida, so we were expecting that we would see it here in the Mid-South pretty soon,” said Dr. Nick Hysmith, Medical Director of Infection Prevention at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.

The CDC has reported a rise in cases across the Southern United States.

As of July 11, Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital has seen 80 cases.

The virus typically spreads during the winter months. But because of COVID-19 restrictions last year, Dr. Hysmith feels it was kept at bay.

“Kids have gotten back together,” he said, “So I think things that low level of RSV in the community has been unleashed.”

While RSV and COVID-19 both effect the respiratory system, Dr. Hysmith says RSV typically affects children two or younger.

“COVID-19 on the other hand we haven’t seen the symptoms that much among this really young age group,” he said.

Severe cases of RSV can lead to bronchiolitis or pneumonia.

Hysmith recommends that children with underlying conditions such heart disease or asthma receive a vaccine that can help protect against RSV.

“A medication called SYNAGIS - it’s a palivizumab - it’s given during the RSV season to kids who are at higher risk for severe illness,” he said.

Dr. Hysmith is unsure how long this RSV season will last but he predicts Le Bonheur could see patient numbers reach the 300s like they did in 2019.

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