The national increase in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) hospitalizations hits Idaho

St. Lukes
Posted at 4:14 PM, Nov 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-04 13:14:40-04

BOISE, Idaho — According to St. Luke's Children's Hospital, Idaho is seeing a "notable increase" in children needing hospitalization because of RSV. This is following the national trend of the virus. The state of the virus in Idaho changed in a matter of days, as last week the hospital was only seeing an "unseasonal increase" in hospitalizations.

The virus can be contracted by anyone but is particularly harmful in children that have smaller air passageways.

“RSV is a very common virus, and fortunately, we are not seeing that the severity of illness is worse than in past years. However, the increase in cases we have seen and are now treating in our hospital in a matter of one week has been significant,” said Dr. Kenny Bramwell, St. Luke's Children's system Medical Director in the hospital's statement.

For most kids that contract the virus, hospitalization isn't needed but it can be severe in some cases.

With the increase in cases, St. Luke's like hospitals around the country, have been dealing with having enough beds and staff to treat all the patients. St. Luke's is the only children's hospital in the state, and with them only having 100 beds for infants, children, and newborns, they have had to transfer patients.

“Once we reach capacity in those places we have to start talking about transferring kids to another part of the state or to another local state," said Bramwell. “It's a challenge, and we’re doing our best to accommodate everybody that we possibly can, but that’s the concern both regionally and nationally as lots of places have run out of beds or staffing in different parts of the country.”

St. Luke's says to take these steps to help prevent the virus:

  • Avoiding close contact with sick people.
  • Avoiding touching your face with unwashed hands.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces.
  • Covering your mouth when you cough and sneeze.
  • Staying home when sick.
  • Washing your hands often.