Multnomah Co. health leaders give RSV update

PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - Multnomah County health leaders on Thursday hosted a virtual news conference on the state of RSV.

Hospitals in Oregon continue to see a surge in babies and young children with RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, according to a statement Thursday from Oregon Health & Science University.

Additionally, the organization said a recent forecast of RSV hospitalizations shows signs that the state is near the peak of infections.

RSV is a common respiratory illness — almost all children will have an RSV infection by age 2 — that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms that typically go away in a week or two.

According to the OHSU, it’s likely children’s immune systems are not as prepared to fight the virus this year because they were not exposed during the pandemic, when masking, physical distancing and avoiding crowded indoor spaces was common.

Because of the high volume of sick young children requiring emergency hospital treatment at this time, families are experiencing long wait times in emergency rooms and appointments for primary care are taking longer to schedule.

Symptoms of RSV infection usually include a runny nose, decrease in appetite, coughing, sneezing, fever or wheezing. Serious symptoms that might indicate the need for emergency care could include trouble breathing, trouble eating due to rapid breathing, wheezing, severe dehydration or lethargy.

According to OHSU, the best thing parents and caregivers can do to keep their children healthy and safe this fall and winter is to practice all the measures that were emphasized during the COVID-19 pandemic:

· Stay up to date on all routine vaccinations, including flu shots and COVID-19 boosters.

· Limit infants’ exposure to frequent visitors and crowds, especially if they are at risk for severe illness and/or younger than 12 weeks of age.