Summer Spike of RSV Cases Catches North Texas Families Off Guard

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When runny noses hit all three kids, Jenna Giddens said she and her wife didn’t think much of it.

“We kind of thought the season changed and it’s just allergies, except it didn’t go away,” said Gidden.

Two-year-old Hayes had just started preschool and was exposed to more kids. Still, mid-summer, they weren’t expecting viruses to be floating around.

Then Sunday, Everett, one of the couple’s 5-month-old twins, was struggling to breathe, warranting a trip to the emergency room at Children’s Medical Center where she tested positive for RSV, Respiratory Syncytial Virus, and was admitted to the ICU.

By that evening, it was twin sister Murphy’s turn to show up in the ER.

“That first 24 hours, it was straight chaos,” said Giddens. “My wife, when she got there at 10 p.m., maybe 10:30, she said there’s nowhere to sit. She couldn’t find a single chair.”

It’s part of a rare summer surge in winter illness pediatricians are seeing across North Texas.

Just this past week, Children’s said it saw more than 120 positive cases of the respiratory virus.

Though common in children, RSV is rarely seen outside of fall or winter.

In Fort Worth, Cook Children’s reported 94 cases.

A spokesperson said the hospital has been fairly full for the last couple of weeks, citing RSV as a contributing factor.

“We’re starting to see people get back out into the community, get back together, we’re starting to see those viruses start to circulate,” said Cook Children’s pediatrician Dr. Justin Smith in an interview with NBC 5 last week.

After three days of oxygen and fluids, the Giddens and their girls returned home Wednesday to big brother Hayes.

Hayes also tested positive for RSV but was able to recover at home.

Now, Jenna’s warning other parents to be aware.

"Wash your hands constantly. If you don't have to take your kids, don't. With it on the rise right now, you almost need to treat it like winter. If it was 30 degrees right now and everyone was sick, would you take your kid anywhere and everywhere you went?" Giddens said.

All three kids also tested positive for rhinovirus. One of the twins also had parainfluenza.

Cases of RSV are most serious in infants. Symptoms can include cough, wheezing, rapid breathing, runny nose or congestion, fever and difficulty breathing. Click here to learn more from Children’s Health.

This rise in cases is part of a larger outbreak across the south, which was noted last week in an advisory made by the CDC.

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