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Douglas County Health Department seeing 'atypical' spike of Respiratory Syncytial Virus cases; leading to limited bed space for pediatric COVID patients

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Posted at 2:08 PM, Aug 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-13 15:08:57-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — As COVID-19 cases continue to trend high in Douglas County, another respiratory virus is seeing an “atypical” spike in the area.

According to a release from the Douglas County Health Department DCHD, Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) cases tend to see a spike ”during the winter months, but surprisingly cases are on the rise, locally, in the middle of summer.”

Yesterday, the DCHD said the “outbreak” was mostly to blame for pediatric beds that could otherwise be used for the treatment of COVID patients being at capacity.

READ MORE: Sick kids running out of room at Omaha-area hospitals as start of school, COVID loom

The department said while reporting RSV cases isn’t required, the spike has brought the attention of the American Academy of Pediatrics which in turn is alerting physicians to the situation.

“RSV is not rare and it is treatable, but it is not expected this time of year,” Douglas County Health Director Dr. Lindsay Huse said. “We want parents and providers to be aware of this unusual occurrence so they can prevent, recognize, and treat it.”

Normally, people tend to develop RSV infections by the age of two but people can develop it at any age and more than once.

The department suggests that the delay in cases may be due to COVID-19 mitigation efforts during the winter months.

Transmission of RSV is similar to COVID-19 so the department says COVID-19 mitigation efforts should help prevent the spread of RSV.

Symptoms of RSV are generally like a common cold but can lead to more serious infections such as inflammation of small airs ways in the lungs and pneumonia. This is a particular concern in infants, the elderly, people who may have compromised immune systems or other medical conditions which may make them more at risk.

Treatment is usually carried out using over-the-counter medicine for fever and pain with recommendations to stay hydrated. You should talk to your doctor before treating RSV.

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