Omaha health experts report rise in RSV cases, emergency room vistis

The vaccine would be the first of its kind.
Published: Nov. 4, 2022 at 11:13 AM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Omaha health experts say emergency room visits are up after a surge in RSV cases.

The Douglas County Health Department says it received 852 positive RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) tests in the month of October.

The virus most commonly affects children, although adults can catch it as well.

Of those positive tests, 65% were from children under five years of age. And 40% of cases were from children between 0 and 24 months.

DCHD says Children’s Hospital confirmed they served 245 patients positive for RSV between Oct. 26 and Nov. 2. Of those patients, 160 were seen in the emergency department and released within 24 hours.

Intensive care unit beds were used to treat some patients, as 21 patients were admitted to the ICU and stayed an average of just under five days. Children admitted to the ICU for RSV were between two weeks and two years of age.

CHI Health also reported a rise in RSV cases in its emergency rooms. CHI Health says that according to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, RSB cases are more than double of what they were at this time last year. And more than 85% of emergency room visits were for children under the age of five.

According to DCHD, the fall surge in cases is not typical, as the virus most often spreads in the winter. Children often get RSV at some point in their first two years. Symptoms are similar to the common cold, but can also cause more severe issues.

Hospitalization could be needed for an RSV case if the infected person is having trouble breathing or becomes dehydrated.

DCHD says prevention is key to protecting you and your children from RSV.

“Prevention is the best approach to protect you and your family from RSV because there is no vaccine and there are no therapeutics,” Douglas County Health Director Dr. Lindsay Huse said. “Parents and providers should be aware of the situation so we can take proper precautions to prevent transmission, as pediatric ICU beds are in short supply.”