Local doctors concerned about spike in respiratory virus

Published: Jul. 14, 2021 at 7:16 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - There has been a rise in cases, but we’re not talking about COVID. Local health experts are seeing a spike in RSV, a respiratory virus most common in the winter. Though it is happening in adults, doctors at the children’s hospital are starting to worry.

Doctors are seeing more people walk through theses doors at the Children’s Hospital of Georgia. The RSV virus is causing parents to bring their kids to the hospital and doctors say it’s a mystery as to why they’re seeing so many cases.

COVID has taken away so many things in the past year, and also changed the way things usually work.

“For some reason about six to eight weeks ago RSV started popping up all over the country. Not only in Augusta. We have a huge number of RSV patients coming in right now,” said James Wilde, pediatric doctor at CHOG.

RSV stands for Respiratory Syncytial Virus and is most common in children two or younger and the largest number of people who die from RSV are 65 and older. The problem? It’s a wintertime virus and nobody knows why we’re seeing it now.

“I have never in 30 years seen RSV at this level in the summertime,” said Dr. Wilde.

Symptoms are coughing, fever, runny nose, and sometimes wheezing. Aubrey Hickson says that’s exactly what her two year old daughter went through.

“Just when they’re that little and they’re coughing so hard and having trouble breathing is scary,” said Hickson.

Her daughter is in daycare and that’s still a concern with COVID cases rising.

“I think there is that extra paranoia with everything going on,” said Hickson.

Dr. Wilde says that he believes COVID replaced all the other seasonal viruses and says it’s not our immune systems being weaker or wearing masks for the past year.

“A lot of folks are saying we were wearing masks in the winter which protected us form RSV. Well yeah we were wearing masks but we still had COVID infections so it’s not a great explanation for why suddenly RSV is showing up. The answer is nobody really knows why we’re seeing so much RSV right now,” said Dr. Wilde.

Doctors say it’s always a good idea to bring your child in and get them tested if you think they might have RSV just to make sure and as a safety precaution.

If your kid does get RSV don’t stress too much doctors say most kids get the virus at least once before their second birthday. They also say most kids don’t have to go to the hospital. It typically goes away in about two to six weeks.

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