Cases of Pediatric RSV Overwhelm Hospitals

Child with RSV receives a breathing treatment
Child with RSV receives a breathing treatment | Image by Theera Disayarat/Shutterstock

Reportedly, nearly all pediatric hospital beds in Dallas-Fort Worth are full after waves of respiratory illness.

A significant surge in cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and other respiratory illnesses has pushed DFW-area pediatric care facilities to their limits. Reports indicate that pediatric beds have a 97% occupancy rate while healthcare workers struggle to treat critical patients promptly.

Adding more pressure to the situation, supply shortages of Nirsevimab have resulted in pediatricians having to ration the drug. Also referred to as Beyfortus, this recently FDA-approved single-shot monoclonal antibody is intended to help prevent severe RSV disease in infants, as previously covered in The Dallas Express.

RSV typically first strikes in the fall and peaks in winter, manifesting as mild, cold-like symptoms for approximately a week or two, according to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control.

However, while it can be an annoying sickness for adults, young children and the elderly are at risk of acquiring severe cases that may lead to bronchiolitis or pneumonia and require hospitalization. Obesity is also a considerable risk factor for severe RSV cases, according to studies.

During the week starting on October 29, Children’s Health in Dallas saw 382 RSV cases, representing a 31% rise in RSV cases from the week prior.

Meanwhile, Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth is operating at full capacity, with approximately 200 pediatric patients testing positive for RSV last week. Space constraints in intensive care units resulted in five patients being stuck in the emergency department waiting for beds to become available on November 13, according to News Nation.

As covered in The Dallas Express last year, RSV and flu cases peaked unusually early, putting considerable strain on North Texas hospitals. For instance, around this time last year, in the span of just 24 hours, the emergency room at Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth logged 603 patients, while its urgent care centers saw 760.

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