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'It's really bad': Doctors see spike in respiratory virus, RSV, cases in Valley

2 months 2 weeks 2 days ago Monday, August 09 2021 Aug 9, 2021 August 09, 2021 7:45 AM August 09, 2021 in News - Local

The CDC released a health advisory alert in June after seeing an increase of a respiratory virus spreading in southern states - including Texas - among mostly adolescents and children.

The federal agency notified doctors and caregivers of the rapid spread of respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, in southern states.

In the Valley, DHR Pediatric Pulmonologist Dr. Roberto Ayers says they’ve seen a large increase in cases of RSV among babies and small children over the last month.

“Fifty percent of all tested babies that have symptoms are positive for RSV. That is huge," Dr. Ayers said. "We usually start the season at 10 percent and we keep it open at 10 percent; We are at 50 percent like if we’re in the middle of January or February. It’s really bad."

Dr. Ayers says RSV is typically a virus that shows up during the fall and winter months.

His colleague, DHR Dr. Marissa Gomez Martinez, who cares for pediatric patients from rural and urban communities, believes the cause of the RSV spike could be connected to the decrease of mandatory mask wearing and social distancing.

"I think daycares have opened up again, so kids are congregating together again,” Dr. Gomez Martinez said. 

Since there’s no cure for RSV, it typically runs its course in about a week. Symptoms in older children and adults typically include fever, coughing, sneezing, runny nose and congestion.

But once those symptoms are present in babies and infants, it can pose as a serious health threat. 

“Some babies can get so sick, many of them get so sick, even if the are not premature that they get admitted under hospital admission and need oxygen,” Dr. Ayers said.

Doctors say the best way to prevent the spread of RSV is to always wash your hands and maintain safe hygiene practices.

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