Essentia Health seeing unseasonably high cases of RSV in children

A local pediatrician says she's seeing more children getting admitted to the hospital for a respiratory-related illness

FARGO, N.D. (KVRR) — Children across the metro are getting infected with Respiratory Syncytial Virus, commonly known as RSV, earlier in the year than usual.

“I’m definitely admitting children every single day with RSV and classically in years past, we would be admitting these kids in November and December and we’re seeing several a day that are getting admitted with breathing problems predominantly,” explained Essentia Health pediatrician Dr. Stephanie Grondahl.

The illness causes infections of the lungs and respiratory tract.

It could lead to pneumonia or bronchiolitis.

Grondahl says the rise in RSV cases may be due to families getting back to normal activities. “We saw essentially no cases of RSV last winter because people were masking and staying at home and isolating, and so now that people are being exposed to one another again, we’re seeing a big rise in those cases.”

This increase is causing some capacity concerns for hospitals as the Delta COVID variant, which has impacted children nationwide, is circulating quickly.

“I am concerned as we’re going into the school season right now that I’m seeing so many cases of RSV in these very young children, that once our kids start going back to school, and they start intermingling with one another at the older school age, that they’re going to start sharing things like the COVID virus and that on top of these RSV admissions, we’re going to be stretched,” Grondahl said.

She says the best way to protect children from infections is to continue following public health measures.

“The wonderful thing that we saw last winter is that masking, social distancing, good hand hygiene, all work really well to prevent the spread of infections.”

It can be difficult to differentiate the symptoms of RSV and COVID in children.

If you suspect your child has either, Grondahl says the best thing to do is contact your doctor right away.

Categories: Coronavirus, Health, Local News, North Dakota News