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Pediatric hospitals strained by unseasonal uptick of RSV in children

Published: Aug. 18, 2021 at 8:20 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Editor’s note: The headline and sections of this article has been modified.

Pediatric hospitals in Lubbock are also facing an unseasonable uptick of a virus called RSV.

The early onset of Respiratory Syncytial Virus or RSV is striking hospitals in Lubbock, following a national trend. The medical director of UMC Children’s Hospital said they’re starting to use an anti-RSV medication in the neonatal ICU, which is normally done later in the season.

Covenant pediatrician Lara Johnson says she’s also seeing children with COVID-19.

“We are seeing more COVID cases, but it hasn’t gotten to the point where we’re seeing, an equivalent number of RSV and other viruses,” Johnson said.

But they have seen infants, a couple weeks old, test positive for the virus.

“We’re more likely to see the COVID pneumonia, the acute COVID where kids are more ill, in those older age groups, and often in kids who have some other underlying health conditions out there,” Johnson said.

International data suggests the delta variant is not affecting children differently than the alpha strain, but Johnson said it’s too soon to be sure.

“Because the highest risk group has now largely been immunized. So that is also not necessarily a difference in the virus, but a difference in the population that is susceptible to the virus,” Johnson said.

Doctors recommend that adults get the COVID-19 vaccine to prevent spreading the virus to children.

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