A frenzy of seasonal infections has struck nationwide, as hospitals and medical centers in various parts of the country are reportedly overwhelmed with a severe uptick of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) cases. Likewise, children’s hospitals in the D.C., and Baltimore areas are also reportedly near capacity.
The untimely respiratory infection shows rather mild levels of illness among adults, but heavier with potentially life-threatening cases of pneumonia and bronchiolitis in young children. Annually, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report 58,000-80,000 RSV-caused hospitalizations of children younger than 5 years old, with 60,000 – 120,000 hospitalizations for adults 65 years and older. A decrease in appetite, runny nose, fever, coughing, sneezing, or wheezing signal early symptoms of the temporary malady.
With school back in full swing and reverting to formal on-campus learning, classrooms serve as a breeding ground for potentially dangerous infections as the viral surge has seen in classrooms across state lines in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Texas to name a few.
But despite national reports, local hospital staff members made mention (on background) of not actually witnessing an overwhelming load of RSV cases filling their facility or pediatric beds, outside of what they have seen in the news. Similarly, District officials have reported no communication of urgency or request from local medical centers to assist in addressing the reported RSV surge, also noting that DC Health does not require hospitals to report RSV, or ILI cases.
A statement released from the Department of Health quells the concerning narratives addressing the uptick in pediatric beds across the nation and particularly, the DC Metropolitan region.
“DC Health has not received any notifications from area hospitals, regarding any outbreaks or clusters of respiratory viruses. All cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) rhino/enterovirus, influenza-like illnesses (ILE) and flu reported to us were isolated,” the department said in a public statement. “Normally in the case of an outbreak, hospitals and health centers will reach out directly to DC Health for support, but currently we haven’t received any requests.”
The Informer will continue to monitor the development of respiratory viral cases as it affects the District, and particularly District students, in tandem with the progression of the school year.