Pediatricians warning Oklahoma parents as RSV cases continue to rise

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OKLAHOMA CITY -- Pediatricians are warning Oklahoma parents that cases of one respiratory virus are on the rise.

Historically, this is the time of year when doctors see a rise in the number of cases or respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

Liam Leininger was just released from the hospital for the second time.

Born 11 weeks early, he had to come back to the hospital after he caught RSV.

"Sometimes you just can't avoid it when you have school age children or kids in daycare or mother's day out, they just bring that stuff home," said Liam's mother, Lisa Leininger.

Lisa knows a thing or two about this highly contagious respiratory virus; Liam is the youngest of four.

Last year, Lisa's son, Levi, got RSV at 7-months-old.

About a month ago, Levi got it again.

Levi is one of a growing number of RSV patients at Mercy Hospital who are being treated multiple years in a row.

RSV season is about the same as flu season, November through April.

According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health, we are on pace with last year's statistics for RSV cases.

"Usually it gets confused as a really bad head cold or chest cold or parents will come in thinking their child has asthma," said Mercy Health Pediatrician, Dr. Jesse Campbell. "Probably about 20 percent of infants who get RSV also get apnea or stop breathing, so that's why it's so severe and we pay attention to it."

There is a RSV vaccine for preemies.

However, insurance will only pay for an infant born more than 10 weeks early, which leaves many susceptible infants at risk.

Doctors recommend, if you have any concerns about your young children, make an appointment immediately as cases spike in early February.