BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) — As the school year begins, area doctors are concerned about COVID-19 and growing cases of RSV.
Respiratory syncytial virus is a common respiratory virus that has similar symptoms to COVID and affects young children hard.
The Brazos County Health District tells us that RSV is not a mandatory notification disease, so it’s hard to know exactly how many cases there are in the area. The health district said they recently reported 10 cases from three different schools or nurseries.
Baylor Scott & White Health say they see growing RSV activity in Central Texas.
“RSV skyrocketed in early July and is now virtually detained. It’s positive in the 30th percentile of the kids we test for RSV and that’s about where it was a month ago. Yes, I think the younger kids often get it worse, but we’re still seeing quite a bit of RSV,” said Dr. Daniel Ransom, Division Director of Pediatrics for Baylor Scott & White Health at College Station.
Ransom said they are monitoring RSV within their facilities in Central Texas. He recommends wearing a mask in crowds and says COVID and flu vaccinations are key this year.
“RSV, COVID and unfortunately flu are all very similar in children in the way they present. RSV is a virus that specifically targets small children, more severe such as under two years of age they have much more difficulty breathing,” he said.
Friday morning, Kristie Yeates and her two grandchildren spent some time in the park before school started next week. Her granddaughter will be attending College Station ISD.
“The kids are excited about it and I, we are excited that they are ready,” Yeates said.
But she knows there’s more than just COVID to worry about this year.
“My grandchildren’s cousin is a few months old and he has RSV. He’s been in the hospital for the past few weeks,” she said.
“The RSV is kind of like a canary in the coal mine, what this winter will look like if we don’t mask and vaccinate against flu and COVID. It will be so confusing and it will be so overwhelming with the number of people who will get sick,” Ransom said. “Last year we didn’t have the flu, we didn’t have RSV all winter, and the fact that we had an RSV outbreak in the summer is just so unusual that we’re really scared of this winter if we don’t do something else,” he said.
Neither Bryan nor College Station’s ISDs had anyone available to speak to RSV on Friday, but the districts say they are monitoring the TEA and state guidance.
Masks are encouraged for those who wish to wear them, but not required.
We have a previous story about Bryan and College Station ISDs following the TEA guidelines here.
We have more information about RSV here.
Copyright 2021 KBTX. All rights reserved.