SAN ANTONIO – Taylor Roby Perez said the week her daughter, Isabel, was diagnosed with Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) felt like a rollercoaster.
“She declined so fast,” Roby Perez said. “She went from being super happy and bubbly and smiley to not wanting to eat, not wanting to do anything but be held and sleep.”
RSV is a sickness that doctors say first comes across as mild, cold-like symptoms. But for those at risk, it could cause serious harm.
Doctors in San Antonio say RSV cases are currently on the rise. They say that’s expected with winter approaching.
“RSV tends to be a very seasonal disease, especially in South Texas,” said Tarak Patel, a pediatric pulmonologist at Baptist Children’s Hospital.
Patel said the shortage of nirsevimab is in part because of production.
“Partly because it was just recently approved in the manufacture,” Patel said. “It hasn’t had enough time to meet the demand of providing enough of the medication out there for the general public.”
At University Health, Jason Bowling, chief hospital epidemiologist, said RSV cases in the hospital are only going up.
“This past week, actually, we had an increase of about 63% on our hospital’s virology report,” Bowling said. “If you look at the state numbers, it’s going up.”
Bowling said people most at risk for seeing severe cases or complications with RSV are older adults and children under the age of one. He said washing hands and staying away from people who are sick is the best form of protection outside of the vaccines and the antibody. But he said the shortage of the antibody immunization is still hitting University Health.
“This year, we have several things that we didn’t have before for RSV. So there’s two different vaccines, and there’s also a long-acting monoclonal antibody,” Bowling said. “The shortage is actually in this new long-acting monoclonal antibody. We’re no exception. Here, we’re in very short supply. It’s only been given to babies at the very highest risk.”
On Thursday, Roby Perez’s daughter was released from the hospital after a week of care and is now recovering at home.
With her daughter only nine months old, Roby Perez said staying alert of her child’s symptoms and acting early helped her family recover.
“They do get really bad, and they do get really sick, and it’s really fast,” Roby Perez said. “Her personality’s coming back, and she’s starting to laugh again, which was really rough because, for a couple of days, we didn’t see that.”
To learn more about the symptoms of RSV, click here.
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