Sanford Aberdeen pediatricians see early spike of RSV

Staff at Sanford in Aberdeen say RSV is making the rounds early this year.
Published: Nov. 16, 2022 at 4:13 PM CST
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ABERDEEN, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Staff at Sanford in Aberdeen say RSV is making the rounds early this year.

Mikel Minor of Aberdeen is just 17 months old. He began coughing and running a fever in late October, but his symptoms eventually grew worse.

”Some of his breathing started getting heavy and rapid, so I was just like, ‘I’m going to bring him to the ER.’ So, I did. I brought him to the ER here and that’s when they tested him, and he tested positive for RSV,” said Mikel’s mother Michelle Miner.

For young children like Mikel, respiratory syncytial virus can lead to serious respiratory issues and dehydration. Mikel was admitted to the Sanford Aberdeen hospital for five days.

”The toughest part is being helpless and not having a fix right away and just having to sit and watch as it goes through the process of being a virus,” said Michelle.

Mikel’s pediatrician, Dr. Sheilla Kiconco, says seeing RSV this early in the year isn’t normal.

”For the past two years, yes, we’ve seen it spike a bit earlier than we expect. Usually, in the end of November to maybe March or April is when we see it, but now, we were seeing it in October,” said Dr. Kiconco.

As for why that is, Dr. Kiconco says she isn’t sure.

“The reason for that? Honestly, I don’t know because can only speculate. Is it because people have let down their guards and not washing anymore and no one wants to social distance? Maybe, but we don’t know the reason that we’re seeing the spike so early this year,” said Dr. Kiconco.

Since RSV symptoms are similar to other common illnesses, it might be hard to detect without a test.

”Most of the time, people at home will never (be able to) tell that they have RSV. I mean, I can have it and just have sniffles and a bit of a fever, but that doesn’t differentiate it from what the flu would present like or what the common cold would present like,” said Dr. Kiconco.

According to the CDC, most adults recover from RSV in a week or two, but passing it along to young children can have dangerous consequences.

”They’re so little that their bodies decline quickly, so my greatest suggestion is to get them checked, and it’s better to be safe than sorry,” said Michelle.

Dr. Kiconco says the best way to prevent the spread of RSV is by washing hands, sterilizing surfaces and taking extra precaution around young children. She also says that if respiratory issues appear in children, they should be brought in immiediately.

”The reason why I say they can’t identify just by looking is because pneumonias can present like that. Influenza might present like that, but anything that is concerning for respiratory distress, not drinking, fevers that are just persistent, then we would want to see that child in the clinic,” said Dr. Kiconco.