PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Dozens of states across the U.S. have seen a sharp increase in children suffering from respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV. In Oregon, the latest data show positive cases of the virus remain below what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines as the onset of RSV season.
On Thursday, CBS News reported hospitals in 33 states are seeing a dramatic rise in kids diagnosed with RSV and cases have more than doubled in 25 states.
This virus outbreak is putting a strain on hospitals and some facilities have reported they’re running out of beds.
RSV typically presents itself with cold-like symptoms. People suffering from it often experience a runny nose, decrease in appetite, coughing, sneezing, fever and wheezing. However, according to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms can be more severe for young babies, especially premature infants, older adults, people with heart and lung disease, or anyone with a weak immune system.
In severe cases, an RSV infection can spread to the lower respiratory tract, causing pneumonia or bronchiolitis. Symptoms to watch for include fever, severe cough, wheezing, rapid breathing or difficulty breathing, and a bluish color of the skin due to lack of oxygen.
Infants are most severely affected by RSV. Symptoms of severe RSV infection in infants include short, shallow and rapid breathing; struggling to breathe; cough; poor feeding; unusual tiredness; and irritability.
Most RSV infections go away on their own in a week or two.
The CDC says almost all children will have had an RSV infection by their second birthday.
The virus’ peak season is usually between December and February, according to the CDC, but it’s rearing its head early in 2022.
According to the Oregon Health Authority, cases have not reached concerning levels yet in the state.
As of the last weekly RSV report, published Oct. 19, 2.5% of RSV tests taken in the state were positive.
The CDC defines the RSV season onset after two consecutive weeks when the mean positivity rate of antigen RSV tests is 10% or higher or when the positivity rate for PCR tests is 3% or higher.
OHA releases both its PCR test positivity and its antigen test positivity. For the week of Oct. 9-Oct.15, the PCR test positivity rate was 2.4% and the antigen test positivity rate was 3.9%.
The test positivity rate in Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington, 3.6%, was higher than the statewide rate of 2.5%.
Oregon’s positivity rate has increased from the week before, when it was 1.7%.
OHA said 2022-2023 RSV reporting in Oregon began Sept. 25. A new report comes out every Wednesday afternoon.