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Children's Mercy doctor explains reasons for RSV spike in Kansas City area

Kids Virus Surge
Posted at 6:05 PM, Nov 10, 2022

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, cases continue to rise in the Kansas City area, according to a doctor with Children's Mercy Hospital.

There were 325 patients who tested positive last week, according to the latest data from the pediatric hospital.

"I think that with Covid coming in and playing the way that it has in the past few years, a lot of our viruses are not following typical patterns," Chief Emergency Management Medical Officer Dr. Jennifer Watts said.

But Watts said another factor may help explain the recent spike.

"It could be partially because of the kids' immune systems have not been exposed to these illnesses in the last couple of years and so we are seeing a bigger impact," she said.

KSHB 41 News also spoke with a mother whose child recently had RSV.

Laci Saving said her 16-month-old son had Covid, a chest cold, RSV and now the flu, all in the last six weeks.

"It's a lot," Saving said. "It's been really challenging to differentiate one illness from the other."

Watts said Children's Mercy has seen an increase in RSV and flu cases at the same time. She calls that significant, especially since it creates a strain on the health care system.

"We have not peaked yet," Watts said.

Saving saw it firsthand when her son had a 103-degree fever. That was 10 days after coming down with RSV as he also came down with the flu.

"We ended up waiting in the waiting room for two-and-a-half hours before he could be seen and then we were sent directly to Children's Mercy from urgent care," Saving said.

Watts said it's hard to predict when the peak will hit, but moms like Saving are eager for relief soon.

"I just am really hoping and praying we get through this together and we look out for each other, because I think that's all we can do," Saving said.

Children's Mercy also told KSHB 41 News that, while RSV typically affects children younger than 2 years old, they're seeing older kids and even some adults get RSV this year, which has not been common in previous years.