UW Health warns of ‘explosion’ in RSV patients

Why the RSV virus has so many parents worried.
Why the RSV virus has so many parents worried.(CDC.gov)
Published: Sep. 2, 2021 at 4:42 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Madison area doctors are warning of an unexpected increase in a common childhood respiratory virus, which can have similar symptoms as COVID-19.

Infectious disease pediatrician Dr. Gregory DeMuri explained that respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, has been increasing since late July. Dr. DeMuri noted this is odd, because infections usually rise during January through March.

“We didn’t see it this winter because people were wearing masks, they were staying home, kids weren’t in school or daycare, people were social distancing, so kids just didn’t have contact to spread it,” DeMuri said. “But then this summer when people started gathering more, masking less and kids went back to daycare, we saw this explosion in cases in RSV in July and August and now into September.”

Dr. Demuri warned that RSV can result in hospitalization and UW Health has seen many patients over the past two months with RSV. He urged parents to get their children tested for COVID-19 and quarantine at home to avoid passing the virus to other children.

“Having RSV right now really does put extra stress on hospitals and health systems and in certain parts of the country where cases and hospitalization of RSV are high along with COVID, it is just making matters worse,” said Demuri. “Here in Madison we are able to handle it but it is something we are closely monitoring.”

Dr. DeMuri also recommended children 12 and older should get vaccinated against COVID-19, practice good hand hygiene and stay home from daycare or school if they have symptoms. Wearing masks can also help prevent the spread.

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