RSV Strains Hospitals in Parts of US

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RSV infections continue to spread across the US. Some regions seeing are especially high rates of pediatric illness from RSV. So far this season, the virus has hit certain states especially hard. Currently, emergency departments in Georgia and Texas are nearing maximum capacity. At some hospitals, the surge in cases has forced children to spend more than 10 hours in the ER waiting room. This year children with RSV infections have generally become sicker than in the past, requiring more intensive treatment. Some healthcare facilities have struggled to provide timely care to these patients. 

“Last week, we had 25 kids who were waiting in the emergency room who had been admitted for a bed upstairs, including five who needed to go to our intensive care unit,” said Dr. Laura Romano, a physician at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas. “We just do not have beds for them.”

Last RSV season, the US experienced a historically severe and early RSV season. Based on the latest data, experts don’t  expect this year’s hospitalization rates to reach 2022 levels. Nevertheless, even in a typical year, RSV hospitalizes 58,000-100,000 kids. The virus is an even greater threat to older adults, killing 6,000-10,000 Americans age 65 and older and sending 60,000 to 160,000 seniors to the hospital. 

Physicians across the country were counting on a new medicine called Beyfortus to fight RSV this Fall/Winter. The lab-produce antibody is highly effective at preventing hospitalizations and death from the virus. Because of the drug manufacturer’s underestimation of demand and insurance companies’ policies, Beyfortus is in short supply. The federal government recently released a stockpile of adult doses to help alleviate the shortage. 

Full Story: Associated Press