OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Right now, health experts are warning of a potential triple health threat before kids head back to the classroom, as the state sees a surge in RSV and COVID-19 cases along with the upcoming flu season.
“There have been just tremendous outbreaks in the southern states, of RSV infections of kids, in the summer months which is just incredibly uncommon,” said OU Health’s Chief COVID-19 Officer Dr. Dale Bratzler.
According to the CDC, Oklahoma had zero recorded cases of Human Respiratory Syncytial Virus, or RSV, at this time last year. Now, Bratzler says so far this summer, more than 100 kids have been admitted to the hospital with RSV.
The virus usually attacks young children in the winter months. If a child develops a severe case of RSV, they have difficulty breathing and are hooked up to oxygen in the hospital.
“I don’t think anyone knows why the virus is behaving this way,” said Dr. Bratzler.
Doctors said a potential threat is on the horizon with the winter virus making an appearance in the summer, rising COVID-19 cases, and the flu season just right around the corner.
“Influenza, we just saw almost no cases last year,” said the doctor. “Last year, pretty much everyone was wearing a mask. It may not be the same this year.”
“The one thing you do not want to have happen is to get both COVID and influenza at the same time,” said Dr. Bratzler.
The doctor said right now, 1,100 new COVID-19 cases are popping up across the state on a daily average.
These maps from OU Health shows the virus sweeping across Oklahoma over the last 20 days with only a month before schools starts.
Bratzler is urging parents to prevent the triple threat with three steps.
“Make sure your kids are wearing a mask and teach them how to do it. Quite honestly, they can do it and they can do it very effectively,” he said.
Bratzler also said parents need to make sure their children over the age of 12 are vaccinated.
“When the influenza vaccine comes out, they should receive the influenza vaccine also to prevent that disease,” said the doctor.
On Monday, The Oklahoma City County Health Department said 80% of kids between 12 to 17 years old are not yet vaccinated.
The CDC recently issued a warning about rising RSV cases affecting the majority of southern states.