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Children’s hospitals across the state at max capacity due to surge of RSV cases in children

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

Children's hospitals across the state are full, due to a recent surge of RSV and other respiratory illnesses.

Officials said hospitals are not at their breaking point yet, but could be soon if cases of Respiratory Syncytial Virus cases keep going up.

RSV usually sends hundreds to the hospitals each year. But this year, hospitals say they're seeing an unprecedented spike in cases. While children's hospitals will not turn someone away, they are struggling and are asking people to try other options before going to the emergency room, such as contacting a local physician.

The recent surge in RSV across the state has caused schools to shut down, and many children's hospitals have reached max capacity.

"In children's hospitals, emergency departments, as well as in their inpatient settings, they are absolutely slammed, and that they are dealing with some very sick kids," Dave Dillon, of the Missouri Hospital Association, said.

RSV is common for this time of year but a surge this severe is not.

"It is unusual to see this much utilization around RSV. We don't know that we can explain it fully," Dillon said.

Dillon said to combat the surge, hospitals are asking people to stay away, and are canceling some elective surgeries.

While hospitals do have the equipment and supplies to treat RSV, not every doctor is qualified to treat the illness making it harder for hospitals to treat it.

"These are fairly highly skilled conditions that usually deal with seriously ill children," Dillon said. "Even a pediatrician may not have the skills to deal with many of these very complex respiratory conditions."

Nearly all children get RSV by the time they are 2 years old. In most cases it will cause mild, cold-like symptoms. But in severe cases, it can cause bronchitis or pneumonia in very young children.

Between a mix of RSV, COVID-19 and influenza, children's hospitals are slammed.

Dillon said it is important for people to practice preventative methods during this time.

"This is a very transmissible disease, so distance from people who are ill, using hand hygiene because it spreads very easily on surfaces," Dillon said.

There is a monoclonal antibody available for youth who are prone to have a more serious/severe case of RSV. Those interested in learning more should ask their pediatrician.

Article Topic Follows: Health
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Leila Mitchell

Leila is a Penn State graduate who started with KMIZ in March 2021. She studied journalism and criminal justice in college.

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