CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – Doctors said they’ve seen an increase in RSV cases. The virus usually attacks in the winter, but in 2021 there was a high number of cases in the summer, and this fall there are already more children going to the hospital with the virus.
“The problem with RSV is it’s a respiratory virus,” said Dr. David Priest, with Novant Health. “It can inflame the small airways in the lungs and cause infection and inflammation.”
Doctors said the elderly, and those living in skilled nursing facilities are at risk as well. If a patient has other conditions, it makes breathing more difficult.
“We have elderly in our ICU who have lung infections and they have it from RSV,” says Priest. “So that’s really what we are dealing with in our hospitals.”
Currently, there is no treatment for RSV, and doctors said they are running plenty of tests to make sure patients are not infected with a deadly combination of RSV, the flu, or Covid.
“If you were to get two of these at the same time, say Covid and the flu,” adds Priest. “Or Covid and the adenovirus, that’s not good. Individuals who get two at once or that co-infection are more likely to end up in the ICU or more likely to die.”
There are enough hospital beds and staff to handle the current surge in sickness in the Novant system. Priest said area hospital systems are also helping each other as the need arises.
“If there is a hospital in the community that is on diversion that means they don’t have a bed right there for that patient, then we are happy to accept those patients,” said Priest. “So those teams work together. We’re not in competition as it pertains to caring for vulnerable people.”
David Priest said soon an RSV vaccine may be on the market. Medical professionals also said people should make sure they are up to date on all immunizations to help prevent getting sick.