Kentucky Children’s Hospital shifting resources to handle surge in RSV cases

Kentucky Children’s Hospital shifting resources to handle surge in RSV cases
Published: Oct. 24, 2022 at 5:04 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Hospitals across the country are seeing a surge in patients with RSV, a common respiratory disease.

To keep up, Kentucky Children’s Hospital is shifting all of its resources, expanding beds into overflow areas and increasing capacity in emergency rooms.

“RSV is respiratory syncytial virus. It’s a cold virus,” said Dr. Lindsay Ragsdale. “We’ve been seeing this for years and years.”

While the virus itself is common, the timing of the surge in cases we’re currently seeing across the country is not so common.

“Here at UK, we started seeing positive RSVs in May, which is unheard of,” Dr. Ragsdale said. “Normally, it’s a January to March kind of illness. So, really, that seasonal winter thing is not happening. We’re seeing it now more than ever.”

Experts say we have not yet hit the peak surge in Kentucky, so cases of RSV will likely continue to rise.

“Once we see those numbers come down, we’ll all feel a little bit better, but, currently, continues to increase,” Dr. Ragsdale said. “We see 20-30 RSV kids every day admitted to our hospital. That’s a significant number.”

Jessica McKendree’s two-year-old son recently got over RSV.

“It was just going around his preschool, he goes to one nearby,” McKendree said. “He didn’t have it too bad. It was just congestion and not fun, but he’s old enough that it’s not as dangerous as infants getting it.”

RSV causes mild, cold-like symptoms, but can be dangerous in some children, especially in infants.

“Their nasal passages and their airways are smaller so when you have tons of this secretion and snot being made, it kind of clogs up the places that they need to breathe,” Dr. Ragsdale said.

To help prevent RSV, doctors recommend teaching children the importance of washing their hands and avoiding sneezing or coughing into their hands.