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RSV: What's behind the surge, and how to contain it

25 November 2021, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Stuttgart: An intensive care nurse cares for a patient suffering from respiratory syncytial virus (RS virus or RSV) who is being ventilated in the children's intensive care unit of the Olgahospital in Stuttgart. Photo: Marijan Murat/dpa (Photo by Marijan Murat/picture alliance via Getty Images)
25 November 2021, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Stuttgart: An intensive care nurse cares for a patient suffering from respiratory syncytial virus (RS virus or RSV) who is being ventilated in the children's intensive care unit of the Olgahospital in Stuttgart. Photo: Marijan Murat/dpa (Photo by Marijan Murat/picture alliance via Getty Images)

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Children’s hospitals across the U.S. are being overwhelmed by the respiratory infection: RSV.

“The surge of patients, the influx of patients, the patients waiting to get beds, the demand on the system. It feels very much like 2020,” Dr. Meghan Bernier says.

And it’s not slowing down.

“I unfortunately suspect things will get worse before they get better,” Dr. Bernier adds.

But can it be contained and how?

“This is a story not so much about a virus out of control, but a health care system ill equipped to handle it.”

Today, On Point: What we know about respiratory syncytial virus. Why is this illness overwhelming pediatric hospital units now?

Guests

Dr. Meghan Bernier, medical director of the pediatric ICU at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.

Saad Omer, infectious disease epidemiologist. Director of the Yale Institute for Global Health. (@SaadOmer3)

Also Featured

Caitlin Laycock, mother from Raleigh, N.C. who’s 3-week-old baby was hospitalized for RSV.

Lauren Zaleski, mother from Chicago who’s 17-month-old has been hospitalized twice for RSV.

Caryn Just, ICU nurse at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.