Hospitals at capacity in wake of RSV surge

rsv in mesa county
rsv in mesa county(KKCO/KJCT)
Published: Oct. 25, 2022 at 8:12 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 25, 2022 at 8:21 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WNEM) - A virus is hitting children across the country and filling up pediatric hospital beds. Now, the concerning trend is making its way to mid-Michigan.

“The local hospitals, 80% of the beds are occupied by children who have RSV,” said infectious disease specialist Dr. Nicholas Haddad.

Cases of respiratory syncytial virus, also known as RSV, have been on the rise across the country and is pushing some hospitals to capacity.

Since early September, the CDC has reported a 500% increase in the percent of positive tests for RSV.

“All of the intensive care beds in the state of Michigan are currently occupied, along with all of our other departments,” said Dr. Melissa Schneider, pediatric emergency medicine physician at Hurley. “So, all of the children’s hospitals around the state are seeing large volumes.”

RSV starts out like a cold with symptoms such as a runny nose, cough and fever.

Dr. Schneider said the hospital’s worst season was the fall leading up to the pandemic, but current RSV numbers mirror those numbers.

“The volumes that we’re seeing are pretty common for most respiratory seasons, but they just tend to fluctuate every year,” Dr. Schneider said. “Every season is a little different but there’s quite a bit and it’s early this year.”

Hamilton Community Health Network said parents should keep a close eye on their child’s condition and contact their doctor if they begin to have trouble breathing, seem dehydrated or their symptoms worsen over time.

Local infectious disease specialist Dr. Nicholas Haddad contributes the rise to multiple factors.

“Kids have not been exposed to RSV in the first part of the pandemic,” Dr. Haddad said. “Their mothers may not have been exposed to RSV and didn’t develop the immunity to pass on to their babies.”

There is no vaccine to prevent RSV, only a medication for infants at high risk of developing severe disease like premature babies. Physicians encourage patients to get their flu and COVID shots to lessen RSV symptoms if it’s contracted.