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RSV virus on upswing with infants

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    Respiratory virus on upswing with infants

    By Paul Swiech | | Posted: Monday, January 18, 2010 8:50 pm |

    BLOOMINGTON ? A respiratory virus that can cause hospitalizations in infants has hit sooner than usual this winter, meaning doctors and nurses are wondering whether this will be a worse-than-usual winter for RSV.

    ?Our concern is that we will see more hospitalizations,? said Karen DeLong, patient care facilitator in the family care center of OSF St. Joseph Medical Center, Bloomington. In previous years when the hospital treated more patients earlier for the virus, RSV season turned out severe, she said.

    The good news is RSV is treatable and rarely fatal. Infants are in hospitals from 24 hours to seven days, DeLong said.

    RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) is a common cause of respiratory infections in children. RSV season generally peaks in February.

    But this year, the upswing started sooner. Doctors don?t know why.

    At OSF Saint James-John W. Albrecht Medical Center and at the OSF Medical Group pediatrician office in Pontiac, doctors began treating RSV patients in December, spokeswoman Pam Meiner said Monday.

    In Bloomington-Normal, cases have been going up in the past two weeks. ?We?re seeing a lot of cases coming in,? said Russ Rodriguez, director of practice operations at OSF Medical Group-College Avenue (formerly Carle Clinic-Bloomington/Normal).

    ?The pediatricians have said they?re seeing it earlier,? DeLong said.

    Advocate BroMenn Medical Center and Sugar Creek Medical Associates, both in Normal, have been treating more children with RSV but the numbers are typical for January, spokesman Eric Alvin said.

    RSV symptoms

    Symptoms of RSV include runny nose, congestion, wheezing, coughing, irritability and fever. Reduce your infants? risk of the virus by keeping them away from anyone with cold symptoms because those people may be fighting off RSV, DeLong said.

    Treating RSV

    Parents who suspect their infant has RSV should take the child to the doctor if the child is not feeding well, is becoming dehydrated, is making a wheezing sound when breathing, is breathing quickly or is not getting enough air.

    SOURCE: Karen DeLong