Hospitals, pediatricians seeing increase in RSV cases

by: Peter Daut Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. —

Pediatricians and local hospitals said they're seeing a rise in cases of a virus called RSV. It can affect the respiratory system of both adults and children. When babies get infected, it can cause serious complications.

"It devastated me, because you don't want to go through something like that with your child," Erin Probst said about her 6-month-old daughter, Kylee.

RSV is highly contagious, and one of the most common causes of respiratory illness in children. But pediatricians at Gaston Memorial Hospital said the half a dozen cases they've seen in the past two weeks alone is more than usual, especially for this time of year.

"The fact that it's a little earlier than the season and it's coming on already is concerning, because the season still has a long way to go," Dr. Omodele Masha said.

RSV is spread by droplets containing the virus, or by hand-to-hand contact. It can lead to pneumonia, or other more serious illnesses. Doctors say the virus is especially dangerous to the elderly, infants and young children born prematurely.

"These children get a lot of congestion of their lungs, they have a very harsh cough, and they may have some difficulty breathing," Masha said.

There's currently no vaccination for RSV, and it can only be treated with fluids and rest.

Baby Kylee is expected to make a full recovery.

"I'm ready for her to come home, so she can sleep in her own bed," Probst said.

Doctors say it is important to remember the "three c's" for prevention: cleaning your hands, confining yourself to a space if you are sick, and covering your cough. Also, do not let anyone who is sick handle your child, since they might get infected.

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