33 states report an increase in cases of respiratory virus RSV in children

The family vacation turned into a trip to the emergency room for April Joines and her 6-year-old daughter, Lillian, who had asthma and was hospitalized with the respiratory syncytial virus.

Joines said she was lethargic. “Her breathing was labored.”

In the emergency room, they waited hours to be admitted to the intensive care unit.

RSV cases have skyrocketed in Georgia and at least 32 other states, according to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

The disease causes coughing, wheezing, runny nose, and decreased appetite. It is transmitted directly from person to person.

There are no approved vaccines for the virus, which hospitalizes nearly 60,000 children younger than 5 years old each year.

Significantly, parents are the best people to know their children, said Dr. Andi Shane, a pediatric infectious disease doctor at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. “If a child is having difficulty breathing, he or she may need to see an emergency room or urgent care facility.”

Even though her daughter is better, Joines has three other children, including an infant son infected with RSV.

When asked if she was concerned that one of her children might catch RSV again, she said, “It’s really emotional.”