HOUSTON—Doctors offices and hospitals all over our area are jammed with young patients sick with a dangerous virus called RSV.
It is usually at its peak this time of year and this year it is hitting especially hard.
At Texas Children’s hospital there is an entire intensive care ward of babies that are very sick with the virus. Some of those children have been in the hospital more than a week.
For adults, RSV generally causes no more than typical cold symptoms. It is the very young – babies who are under one-year-old that are at the greatest risk.
Two-month-old Serenity has been in the hospital seven days.
“I was scared that we were going to lose her because she was purple in the face and cold. It was scary,” said her mother Whitney Brown.
Emergency departments are swamped with patients and beds are full.
“The impact is huge. It backs up our ER and it backs up our PICU, it keeps us all very busy and we have to figure out how to do the best thing for our patients,” said Dr. Stephen Welty, with Texas Children’s Hospital.
RSV usually peeks by the end of January.
Doctors have been working on a vaccine for years, but so far there is no vaccine to prevent the virus.
The best prevention for the illness is staying away from sick people and frequent hand washing.