RSV cases rise across country, medical experts concerned over hospital capacity

FARGO, N.D. (KVRR) — RSV cases are rising across the country filling hospitals to capacity, but a local doctor says it’s at normal levels here for this time of year.

Children under two-years-old, those who are immunocompromised and the elderly are at most risk of the virus and there’s no vaccine for it.

A pediatrician at Sanford says its Children’s Hospital has reached full capacity. He adds 44 percent of children who tested for it are positive, but it’s nothing unusual.

“Across the country, it seems the RSV positivity rate is higher than it would be during a normal peak. We’re not seeing that quite yet. We are experiencing what I would consider a normal RSV season in October rather than during January like we would see here,” Sanford Health Pediatrician Dr. Jacob Fish said.

Kids under two-years-old could be more prone to dehydration because their noses are congested which makes it harder to drink out of a bottle. The dehydration could turn into a trickle effect that makes their respiratory status worse.

Parents wonder what RSV looks like with its symptoms similar to the flu and COVID-19.

“I always tell families you know more about it with your gut than I could tell you. I used to give families concerning symptoms to watch out for, then I found they got so focused on the listed symptoms, it’s when they’re concerned about stuff. So, when a child isn’t drinking as much as they normally would. When they’re not acting as well as they normally are being playful. If they’re noticing signs of respiratory distress, their breathing faster, it looks like they’re using more muscles. Those are all concerning signs but I always tell families, if you’re concerned about your child, have your child be seen by a professional so we can tell you what’s concerning and what isn’t,” Fish said.

Dr. Fish says the best way to combat RSV is by sticking to basic disease prevention guidelines like washing your hands and avoiding others if you’re sick.

Categories: Health, Local News, North Dakota News