RSV cases in young children surge across the country, and locally

ONALASKA, Wis. (WKBT) – Hospitals around the country, including in our area, are on alert after RSV cases in young children see a surge in numbers.

Respitory Syncytial Virus, commonly known as RSV, is a flu-like infection in the respiratory tract of babies and young children.

While most kids experience nothing more than a cold, RSV can lead to serious life threatening problems.

Local hospitals have also reported a surge in cases compared to prior seasons.

“As we screen infants for both RSV and Influenza, we’re seeing an awful lot of positive cases,” said Dr. Charlie Peters, a Pediatrician with Mayo Clinic Health System in Onalaska. “We’ve already had to admit infants and small children to the hospital for care. It’s definitely among us, and we’re seeing it at an increasing rate.”

Unlike the flu, which can spread through particles in the air, RSV is transferred by contact, which is why washing your hands and cleaning surfaces is so important to protect your child.

If your child experiences any of these symptoms, call 911 or go to the ER immediately:

  • A high-pitched whistling or wheezing noise when they breathe
  • A cough with yellow, green, or gray mucus
  • Trouble breathing or pauses in their breaths
  • Refusing to breastfeed or bottle-feed
  • Signs of dehydration and dry skin
  • Extreme fatigue, breathes rapidly, or has a blue tint to their lips or fingernails