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Kansas Hospitals See Surge of Children with RSV

TOPEKA, Kan. (KNS/KMUW) – Kansas hospitals are seeing a surge of children hospitalized with RSV, a respiratory illness that can be serious for babies and young kids. The virus typically peaks in the winter, but experts say the COVID-19 pandemic changed its seasonality.

Dr. Fouad Medlej (foh-AHD MED-lej) is a pediatrician at Stormont Vail in Topeka. “It can be something as simple as a runny nose and a cough and a fever,” he said. “But the other end of the spectrum could be severe airway or lung disease that may require an ICU stay, and even potentially mechanical ventilation and a breathing tube.”

Officials say hospitalizations have been rising for weeks.

While there’s no RSV vaccine, doctors say people should get their flu shot to reduce their chance of getting sick this year. Parents should also keep sick kids home and encourage precautions like handwashing.