An RSV outbreak is overwhelming hospitals across the country, causing a shortage of bed space in many cases.
Respiratory syncytial virus or RSV is a respiratory illness with symptoms like the flu and COVID-19 that typically takes hold in children.
According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, RSV cases are down slightly from last year, but up more than 340% compared to a typical season.
“The symptoms of RSV, the flu, and COVID are all very very similar, so it’s hard to distinguish just on symptoms alone,” said Dr. Janice Johnston, Chief Medical Director for Redirect Health.
“If you see your child struggling to breathe or their little muscles in the chest are going in and out, those kinds of things, wheezing, high high fever, those are big warning signs,” she said.
When parents see the warning signs she says don’t wait, seek treatment for your child right away.
Dr. Johnston says RSV is highly contagious, especially in a child’s immediate circle of friends.
“So when we start to see it transmit in preschools, and elementary schools, that’s generally the age group where we will see this, it can start to affect a lot of other children as well,” she said.
Phoenix Children’s Division of Infectious Diseases sent the following statement:
Phoenix Children’s has seen a significant increase in RSV cases over the past few weeks. Seasons of RSV have been atypical during the pandemic. Usually we would see a surge in mid-December, but we’ve seen the surge much earlier both last year and this year. As for bed space, there are no current capacity issues.
Banner Health also addressed the issue with the following statement:
Like other hospitals in Arizona and across the nation we’re seeing an uptick in RSV cases. We currently do have enough capacity at our facilities to provide inpatient care if needed.