MADERA COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – RSV is on the minds of many parents with young babies and infants.
Thursday, the Fresno County Health Department said the case count is up.
While they couldn’t provide exact case numbers for the county, we talked with the spokesperson for Valley Children’s Hospital, who said the hospital has had 80 new admissions for RSV in the past week.
Most of those are babies, and the hospital is now at or near capacity.
Another alarming trend is the test positivity rate around the region.
This year, between 10% and 30% of RSV tests have come back positive.
In a typical year, that number sits between 1% and 10%.
“The pediatric system is being strained right now. And you heard it from the pediatric office level, even at the hospital level,” said Joe Prado, Assistant Director at the Fresno County Department of Health.
Not every RSV case needs to head to the ER or even the doctor.
Most children are infected before they turn two years old.
However, the ones that do have to go to the emergency room are typically in the most vulnerable population, like infants under six months of age.
Less serious signs of RSV are congestion or runny nose, dry cough, low fever, sore throat, and sneezing.
Those can be mitigated with even simple methods like bulb suction with a baby aspirator.
“Because the passages are so small in small babies and young kids, that really does help them quite a lot. Because they’re really gonna have to struggle so hard to push and pull air,” said Dr. Rais Vobra, Interim Health Officer for the Fresno County Department of Health.
Signs of a more serious case could be higher fever, short rapid breathing, cough, irritability, lack of appetite, and struggle to breathe.
Parents can visibly see that when chest muscles retract as a child tries to breathe.
This virus is something we’ll have to continue to keep an eye on.
“The RSV surge here in Fresno County.. it’s not gonna go away. It’s gonna go down. But when you start looking at the trend of RSV in past years, it’s a hill and valley trend. That means we are gonna peak, we’re gonna come down. But we will have another peak,” Prado said.
Prado said the county is looking into systems for if child patients need to be transferred.
He said one possible solution could be to outfit EMS personnel with child respirators.