Local hospital reports rise in RSV cases

All Children's reports 32 cases since Sept.

TAMPA - "Tell them you're ready to go home," said St. Pete mom Sarah Shaffer, sitting on her son's hospital bed.

3-year-old Brody Shaffer has been at All Children's Hospital for three days.

"It started with a fever. It got all the way up to 102," explained his mom.

Now Brody is on oxygen at night after being diagnosed with Respiratory Syncytial Virus or RSV, which is a virus that affects the lungs and breathing passages.

"You could see in his stomach, it looked like he was having, you know he was breathing and all, but it looked like it was just harder for him," said Shaffer.

She says Brody had the virus when he was a year old, which is much more dangerous for older adults, certain infants and young children.

"Their airways are smaller, the tubes going down into their lungs are so small that the little bit of inflammation that I might get from an RSV cold can block their breathing tubes," said Dr. Juan Dumois.

Dumois is the director of all children's hospital's pediatric infectious diseases unit.  He says one of the big RSV risks for infants is dehydration and not enough oxygen.

"We start to see that a child may have trouble feeding, they're breathing so fast that they can't feed at the same time. Their breathing rate gets faster than what the parent is used to," said Dumois.

Every year, 125,000 kids are diagnosed and 4500 die from it, but RSV can be diagnosed with a nasal swab and this mom recommends parents don't wait for medical attention.

"I would tell them just to take them in," she said.

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