Doctors warn of respiratory virus, RSV, on rise in young children


BALTIMORE – A respiratory virus targeting young children is on the rise.

Doctors say this virus is something children get before the age of two.

But what’s alarming is the number of cases our state is seeing right now because it isn’t typical for this time of the year. 

And on top of that, with this alarming rise in infections, hospitals are filling up with children desperate for care. 

Respiratory Syncytial Virus, or RSV, is a virus causing a crisis in hospitals across the country.

Dr. Scott Krugman, a pediatrician at Sinai Hospital, told WJZ that every day they’re admitting young children with RSV to the intensive care unit. 

“Oh, we’re there. It’s bad,” Dr. Krugman said. “I don’t think anybody is talking about how bad it is.”

The spike in cases is leaving doctors scrambling to find open beds.

“There are kids sitting in the emergency room for 24 to 48 hours waiting for hospital beds,” Dr. Krugman said. “There are kids critically ill. There are beds being shipped far away to other states and it’s been going on like that for the past month.”

RSV is a common virus on the rise across the country.

Doctors say babies and toddlers who weren’t exposed to the virus for the past three years are getting the worst of it. 

 “Wear mask, making sure we wash our hands,” parent Latarsha Bryant said.

While there are no vaccines for RSV, doctors say parents can reduce the risk by washing hands frequently, avoiding exposure and keeping surfaces clean. 

“I’ve decided that this winter, no matter what the CDC says, I’m wearing a mask,” parent Lisa Rotundo said. 

Symptoms include fever, coughing, wheezing, change or loss of appetite and fatigue.

Young children may also have difficulty breathing. 

“There’s a lot of different things out here and we just need to be guarded with the information,” Bryant said.

Doctors say children are already up against other viruses, such as the flu.

And since hospitals are overcrowded and filling up, Dr. Krugman says if your child gets sick, call your pediatrician so they can help you find any open beds.