Children’s of Alabama seeing more patients with RSV than COVID-19

Updated: Jun. 17, 2021 at 10:52 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Officials with Children’s of Alabama said they are now seeing more patients hospitalized with the respiratory virus RSV than patients with COVID-19.

Officials said RSV is usually a virus that spreads in the winter months, but now without masks, they are seeing more and more RSV hospitalizations now.

“There’s definitely children at the moment hospitalized with RSV,” Children’s Infectious Disease expert Dr. Claudette Poole said. “We have several babies hospitalized and needing oxygen support.”

Poole said in the last two weeks, they have seen a rapid uptick in the number of RSV cases, which she said is abnormal for summer months.

“We should almost be seeing no cases in June and July,” Poole said. “It’s the normal amount we would typically see around December and January. It’s just an abnormal time of year.”

Poole said the virus is spreading now during the summer because many are going mask free. She said the virus is spread when a person coughs, sneezes, or touches contaminated surfaces.

“The average stay for most babies that get hospitalized is usually three days and then they will go home,” Poole said.

Poole said a majority of patients hospitalized right now for the virus are under six months old.

“RSV is very problematic for babies under six months of age,” Poole said. “It’s really the age that babies struggle the most with it.”

It can impact older children as well. She said it’s a concern for kids with compromised immune systems.

“Over six months of age, especially if there are other contributing factors in terms of whether babies have heart issues or asthma or other things that would compromise their breathing, they are generally the older children who have problems with RSV,” said Poole.

Dr. Poole said she expects RSV cases to slow down, but said it will likely spike back up again in December and January.

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