From Sioux City to the Quad Cities, Iowa hospitals are reporting surges in children being brought to emergency rooms with cases of respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV.
Dr. Amy Groen, a pediatric emergency medicine physician at Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines, says daily patient volume is about double what it normally is for this time of the year. “We’re seeing more and more kids affected. We’re seeing more and more visits secondary to it,” Groen says. “And, frankly, we’ve run out of hospital beds on most days for the patients that need to be admitted from RSV.”
Groen says RSV is more dangerous for young children because their airways are smaller and cannot handle swelling from the virus the way older children and adults can. She recommends parents consider keeping their young children away from others as much as possible.
“I know the holidays are coming up and you want to see family, but RSV in really young infants can be a serious thing,” Groen says. “So really reconsider your holiday plans and your gathering plans just so your infant doesn’t get ill.” A report from the state hygienic lab says during the first week of November, there were 810 cases of RSV reported statewide, a jump from 568 the week before.
In Cedar Rapids, Linn County Public Health, Mercy Medical Center and UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s all report significant increases in RSV cases in recent weeks. Blank Children’s Hospital reports the number of kids arriving each day in the ER is around 120, double the average.
(By Natalie Krebs, Iowa Public Radio)