Respiratory virus spreading across state

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OKLAHOMA CITY — Respiratory Syncytial Virus, better known as RSV, is spreading across the state, with 49 reports of the virus in the past week. Since February, over 200 cases have been reporter at OU Medical Center.

Doctors say it is the most common reason for an infant to be hospitalized.

Director of Infectious Diseases at OU Children’s Hospital, Dr. Robert Welliver, said, “They’ll have a lot of trouble breathing, they’ll start wheezing, the cough really increases and you’ll hear raspy sounds coming from their chest.”

Dr. Welliver also said during the peak of the epidemic the hospital makes adjustments to facilitate all of the patients.

“You wind up opening up areas of the hospital where you don’t normally take care of children. You have beds that are there and space that is there,” he said.

Doctors say like any other virus, the most important thing you can do is to de-contaminate and wash your hands.

“I think it usually comes from an older child who is in school that brings it back into the house and they are fascinated with the new baby and they want to go over and hold it,” Dr. Welliver said.

The emergency room at OU Children’s Hospital has seen several infants dealing with RSV.

“We’re averaging anywhere from 120 to 160 patients a day and a good majority of those are respiratory related,” Dr. Ryan Brown said, a Pediatrician in the Emergency Department of Children’s Hospital.

While many people assume the virus is associated with the climate, doctors disagree.

“It’s not just climate. I think there is something genetic about the virus, something activates during the winter season,” Dr. Welliver said.

Currently, there is no vaccine to fight the virus and doctors say the best thing to do is wash your hands frequently and avoid sharing cups and eating utensils.

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