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The Washington Post: RSV, other viruses making it hard to find a bed in children's hospitals

By Fenit Nirappil and Ariana Eunjung Cha

Children’s hospitals are under strain in the United States as they care for unusually high numbers of kids infected with RSV and other respiratory viruses.

It’s the latest example of how the pandemic has upended the usual seasonal patterns of respiratory illnesses, denying a respite for health-care professionals ahead of a potential hectic winter as the coronavirus, influenza and other viruses collide.

Respiratory syncytial virus, a common cause of cold-like illness in young children known as RSV, started surging in late summer, months before its typical season from November to early spring. This month, the United States has been recording about 5,000 cases per week, according to federal data, which is on par with last year but far higher than October 2020, when more coronavirus restrictions were in effect and very few people were getting RSV.

Nearly three-quarters of pediatric hospital beds are occupied, according to federal health data. Rhode Island, the District of Columbia and Delaware report more than 94 percent of pediatric beds occupied. Maine, Arizona, Texas, Kentucky, Oklahoma and Missouri reported between 85 and 90 percent of beds occupied. The data is limited to facilities that report the information.

It’s why medical experts are amplifying their pleas for people to get vaccinated for influenza and coronavirus — and to beware of multiple viruses hitting at once.

“If you are not immunized and you get infected, you are going to have much more severe infection,” said Angela Myers, division director for infectious diseases at Children’s Mercy Kansas City, which is also experiencing an uptick in RSV cases.


Read the full article via The Washington Post

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