SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Hospitals across the country are seeing an increase in Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) cases among children.
It's a common respiratory illness among babies that happens mostly in the winter months. However, now pediatricians are noticing a high volume of cases happening earlier in the year.
"RSV - Respiratory Syncytial Virus. This is a virus we see every Fall. It usually starts in November and it goes through April. Last year we saw it in the middle of summer. This year we are seeing it as early as October," said Dr. April Zaat, a pediatric hospitalist at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland.
Dr. Zaat says the hospital is seeing a surge.
"We are earlier than usual in having a situation where our beds are full. I came in this morning and I'm on one of the in-patient teams. My team is full, our respiratory unit is full, and there were 5-7 kids in the emergency room waiting for beds," said Dr. Zaat. "A lot of them have respiratory illnesses. Like rhinovirus, enteroviruses. Sort of a potpourri if you will of respiratory viruses that are causing virus in kids. RSV is the main player."
According to pediatricians what's different now is that older children are getting RSV and also testing positive for multiple viruses.
"We are seeing it not only in new babies, but we are seeing it in children who are now 1 year, 2 years some even 3 years of age," said Dr. David Cornfield, Chief of Pediatric Pulmonary Medicine at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford.
One of those children is Derek Smith's 2-year-old daughter.
"The whole family is sick. It started with my daughter who got it from her preschool pod. That was about two and a half weeks ago," said Smith. "She still coughs and you can definitely hear there is something pressing in there."
Dr. Cornfield believes COVID played a distinctive role in the surge of RSV cases.
"Given the isolation that we have all experienced due to COVID. Many children that are in their second year or third year of life have not yet seen RSV infection. So, those older children that are getting RSV for the first time are more severely affected as well," said Dr. Cornfield.
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