Six-year-old with RSV dies as hospitals see alarming rise in new cases of virus

Six-year-old with RSV dies as hospitals see alarming rise in new cases of virus

Michigan health officials confirmed this week that the 6-year-old died after developing complications from RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus.

The child is said to be a boy from the Detroit area.

Hospitals across the country have seen an alarming rise in RSV cases, particularly in children, in recent weeks. The virus causes cold-like symptoms such as a runny nose, cough, fever and decreased appetite, but infants and the elderly (65 and older) can develop more serious cases, he said. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We saw about a 500% increase in positive tests in children who were admitted for upper respiratory tract infections,” Dr. Matthew Denenberg, chief of pediatrics at Corewell Health East in Michigan.

The CDC notes that deaths from RSV are generally uncommon.

“Very, very few children die from RSV, and the children who do get that sick are usually children who have an underlying disease,” Denenberg added.

In New York, the pediatric intensive care unit at Cohen Children’s Medical Center is operating at capacity with more cases than usual.

“We provide a lot of support that often requires inhaled therapies — sometimes steroids, sometimes breathing machines like ventilators until the virus works itself out,” Dr. James Schneider, chief of pediatric critical care at Cohen Children’s Medical Center, told “GMA.”

Anita Ghiam’s 3-year-old daughter, Ella, has been receiving treatment at Cohen Children’s since Sunday for RSV and had to be put on a ventilator.

Ghiam told “GMA” she’s trying to stay positive.

PHOTO: Anita Ghiam talks to ABC News' Erielle Reshef about seeing her child in the hospital with RSV.

Anita Ghiam talks to ABC News’ Erielle Reshef about seeing her child in the hospital with RSV.

ABC News

“I’m trying to be in the mood for her,” Ghiam said. “No one wants to see their child in this situation.”

There is currently no approved vaccine or specific treatment for RSV in the U.S. In Europe, the European Commission this week approved a new monoclonal antibody injection, Beyfortus, which is intended to provide partial immunity to newborns and infants up to 1 year of age. Although it is similar to a vaccine in that it provides a level of immunity to those who receive the vaccine, this injection directly provides antibodies to babies instead of boosting their immune system to make antibodies on its own. In short, although it can completely prevent some RSV infections, the real goal of this antibody injection is to prevent severe RSV in babies that can lead to hospitalization.

The one-time injection is not available in the US, but pharmaceutical companies Sanofi and AstraZeneca, which jointly manufacture the preventive injection, hope it could be ready by next year. The injection would need to be approved by the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration.

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