Warning issued about rise in RSV cases across the Southeast

Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 10:16 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - You’ve probably heard that COVID-19 cases are on the rise. Well, so are cases of RSV.

It’s a common respiratory virus that causes mild, cold-like symptoms but it can be serious. Experts are warning you to take precautions to protect your little ones.

If you’re a mom you’ve probably heard the warnings about RSV. This year, the CDC has issued a health alert specific to the Southeastern part of the country because of the rise in cases. Dr. Laura Wright-Sexton sees firsthand how serious the virus can be for little ones.

“It’s heartbreaking to be honest with you, I mean, I’m a mom, but I’m a pediatric critical care physician,” described Dr. Laura Wright-Sexton. “And so RSV is every day all day. For me the moment this season hits, we all just kind of brace ourselves because we know what’s coming.”

Children’s of Mississippi is already seeing a lot of ICU admissions for RSV which follows a similar pattern to last year.

“These children end up on ventilators, they are so sick,” she added. “I tell all of my families, if your child ends up in the ICU on a ventilator with me, you’re in for about the next 14 days because it just makes the lungs so sick and our kids just can’t keep up.”

It was once thought that only preemies were most at risk but a study UMC partnered with hospitals around the country found that it affected full-term healthy babies just as much. They’re also seeing more cases at TrustCare Kids.

“It seems like the seasons keep creeping a little sooner and sooner each year,” said TrustCare Medical Director Dr. Kristi Trimm.

But there are some positive developments this year with new prevention measures. The FDA approved a new monoclonal antibody shot for newborns and infants during their first RSV season.

A vaccine for pregnant women is now available that could give babies protection for the first six months of their lives.

“We’re hoping to see a dramatic decline in RSV frequency in the population, added Trimm. “And I definitely think it’s going to decrease our hospitalization rate for infants, which is actually the most common thing that they’re hospitalized for is actually RSV.”

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