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Increase in respiratory syncytial virus infections at Arkansas Children’s Hospital



Little Rock, Arkansas – This year, more kids have been coming down with winter-time illnesses that we don’t usually see this time of year— such as respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, Arkansas doctors said.

“We’re not quite sure if that’s going to be its new pattern going forward. Or if this is just a post COVID Blip,” said Dr. Jessica Snowden.

According to Snowden, she’s not sure why RSV is spreading during the summer, but it could have to do with immunity wearing off.

“During the early parts of the COVID pandemic, when everybody was wearing masks for everything, nobody was getting sick. And so we really weren’t seeing RSV we went about a year and a half without seeing very much RSV at all. And once it’s shown up, it’s shown up at an unusual time,” Dr. Snowden said.

The disease is harder on children than adults, Dr. Snowden added.

“In little kids, what we tend to see is a lot of wheezing. So we call them ‘happy wheezers’ because they’re breathing really, really fast, but they don’t look particularly sick. And whereas in older kids, we tend to see more severe cold-type symptoms,” she explained.

Increasing RSV cases has also put a strain on teachers and childcare workers.

Daycare teacher Josie Glass said that 4 out of 6 kids in her classroom came down with RSV within the last week.
“This is the first time that we had that I’ve experienced a surge,” Glass said.

Now, Glass said that she’s keeping her distance. “I’m scared. I mean, like I was I’m afraid that I’m carrying it on myself, and am I going to give it to you even in another classroom,” she explained.

The daycare she works at will be closed for the week as teachers prepare for their fall sessions, so she’s taking this time to deep clean. “These children are very close together and they share toys,” she explained.

Dr. Snowden emphasized the importance of cleanliness to help prevent the spread of not only RSV but lessen transmission during cold and flu season as well. “Kids are kind of gross, by definition, they touch things and they put things in their mouths. So making sure that we’re washing our hands, cleaning our surfaces, using hand sanitizer, those things are all really important to help keep spreading, not just RSV, but also flu,” Dr. Snowden said.

Since there’s no viral medication for RSV, you just have to wait it out and let your body fight it off over time if you catch it, according to Dr. Snowden.


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