Phoebe warns south Georgia about rising RSV cases

Outside of Phoebe hospital
Outside of Phoebe hospital(WALB)
Published: Oct. 3, 2022 at 1:54 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 3, 2022 at 2:00 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - RSV, or Respiratory Syncytial Virus, is a virus that can wreak havoc on a baby’s or child’s respiratory system. It causes wheezing, fever, and congestion. And as RSV Awareness month begins, Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital says they are seeing an uptick in cases.

The next time someone reaches out to pick up your baby or kiss their cheek, you may want to politely tell them no, as this is one of the most common ways your baby can catch RSV.

WALB spoke with a mother who was in the pediatric intensive care unit with her 3-month-old for several days because of RSV. She says she’s just glad she saw the signs when she did.

“He wasn’t taking his bottle. I would feed him and he would spit the bottle out because he couldn’t breathe. First, they swabbed both his nostrils like in the COVID test. Then they brought in radiologists so they can look at his chest and stuff,” mother of a 3-month-old with RSV, Joy said.

Joy had her son tested at Phoebe. When the results came back positive, her son was transported by air to Atlanta, and she followed behind them by car.

“Honestly, it was really heartbreaking. And the whole time I was just anxious because we got caught in Atlanta traffic,” Joy said.

Joy’s son’s symptoms included wheezing and difficulty breathing. He also had asthma. According to Phoebe, cases of RSV are on the rise in southwest Georgia.

The symptoms can vary between difficulty breathing and mild-cold like symptoms.

“Right here in Albany, we’ve had a significant increase in RSV. But premature infants, young infants, and infants under six months are more likely to have severe outcomes from the disease, difficulty breathing,” Phoebe physician, Dr. Grace Davis said.

Dr. Davis says this disease can lead to more harmful illnesses like bronchiolitis and pneumonia. Thankfully, there are multiple ways to stop this virus in its tracks.

“We asked parents, for instance, to try and avoid taking their children to crowded places, public events and to remember basic hygiene. But another factor I should emphasize is that children who are in homes where they’re smokers tend to have more issues with RSV,” Dr. Davis said.

“You know, I’m not the type of person to be, you know, rude and I think that’s probably where I went wrong. I should have been better at keeping people out of his face,” Joy said.

Dr. Davis says that if you notice issues with your baby feeding or laying around more than usual, you may want to see your pediatrician because it could be a symptom of RSV.