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RSV cases continue to strain Michigan's healthcare system

Wikimedia Commons
Creative artwork featuring 3D renderings of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)—a common contagious virus that infects the human respiratory tract.

Cases of the respiratory virus known as RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) are continuing to increase among children across Michigan. The rise in cases has impacted rural hospitals in northern Michigan to the point that they are having difficulties handling the surge.

MyMichigan health, one of the largest health care systems in the state, did not provide specific data on the number of RSV cases currently in their mid and northern Michigan locations to WCMU.

But pediatrician Dr. Shreya Wachob in Mount Pleasant said the RSV case load is substantially higher than last year. She said some MyMichigan facilities in northern Michigan are running out of testing supplies.

"And there's some difficulties getting some of our kids transferred out to the larger hospitals, because those larger children's centers are full with their own RSV cases," said Wachob.

According to Michigan Radio, the C.S. Mott Children’s hospital in Ann Arbor has reached capacity due to an influx of RSV cases.

The leading theory of this year’s RSV outbreak is that it’s a rebound after children avoided viral exposure during the isolation periods of the pandemic.

"And this year, fortunately, life is returning to normal. Unfortunately, now we have a population of children two to three and under, who've had limited exposure to a lot of these viruses and bugs," said Dr. Wachob.

Dr. Wachob said if children are drinking well and breathing comfortably parents should treat them at home to avoid overwhelming the healthcare system.

Rick joined WCMU as a general assignment reporter in March 2022.