Chair of Pediatrics at Doctors Medical Center Discusses RSV

Nov 3, 2022

A seasonal respiratory virus that can be a danger to infants has surfaced early in the Northern San Joaquin Valley.

Respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, may cause bronchial infections and pneumonia in babies, according to a California Department of Public Health advisory.

It also can cause severe illness in adults older than 65.

State health officials watched RSV emerge in the second half of September, when infectious disease surveillance showed almost 5% of people with respiratory illness tested positive for RSV. Usually, significant levels of RSV don’t appear in California until late November, the state advisory said.

As cases have surged across the country, hospital emergency departments in Stanislaus County are seeing children come in with the typical symptoms — fever, cough, wheezing and runny nose.

Dr. Millard Johnson, a hospital physician specializing in pediatrics, said there’s been a big uptake in RSV admissions at Doctors Medical Center and Memorial Medical Center in Modesto.

The vast majority of patients are infants less than a year old, he said. The hospitals also are caring for older children, such as kids with asthma whose condition was worsened by RSV, he said.

Read the full interview with Dr. Johnson about RSV on The Modesto Bee’s website.

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