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Warning issued over unusual increase in RSV cases

Published: Jul. 27, 2021 at 7:26 PM EDT
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LORAIN COUNTY, Ohio (WOIO) - Parents are being advised about a rare summertime rise in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) cases throughout Northeast Ohio.

RSV is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms. Most people recover in a week or two, but RSV can be serious, especially for infants and older adults.

Killian McCall, 4, is still dealing with issues caused by the severe cause of RSV he had when he was a year old.

“It actually ended up being pretty bad, they put him in the emergency room,” said Benjamin McCall, Killian’s father. “At the time, my son was breathing about 60 times per minute. He did end up on several inhalers and he still has asthma now as a result of it.”

RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis (inflammation of the small airways in the lung) and pneumonia (infection of the lungs) in children younger than 1 year of age in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

RSV cases are most often seen in the fall and winter, but an unusual uptick in cases is happening right now in places like Lorain County.

“It’s important for parents to realize, that it’s out there,” said Dave Kovell, the health commissioner for Lorain County.

This rare increase in cases being seen not just here in Lorain County, but all over the country.

Last week, the CDC reported over 1600 cases of RSV, nationwide. This time last year, there were just 12 reported cases.

So why are we seeing more cases right now?

“There’s some discussion of as children have worn masks and stayed away from other kids you know you don’t get the spread of normal diseases,” Kovell told 19 News.

Symptoms include fast breathing or difficulty breathing or trouble swallowing liquids.

“You’ll know that it’s not just a normal cold because they don’t feel like getting up they don’t feel like moving around,” said McCall.

Kovell advises parents to contact their doctors if you start to see symptoms in your child

“It may be COVID-19 but it’s probably more likely RSV,” Kovell said.

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