Hawaii hospitals monitor spike in kids with respiratory illnesses

According to the CDC, RSV cases have skyrocketed in 33 states ― including Hawaii.
Published: Oct. 13, 2022 at 1:59 PM HST|Updated: Oct. 13, 2022 at 5:44 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii hospitals are seeing a spike in kids coming in with respiratory viruses.

“We definitely are seeing a busier season,” said Dr. Jessica Kosut, division chief for pediatric hospitalists at Hawaii Pacific Health. “Like the rest of the country, we are seeing this early increase and with a little more severity.”

The surge is in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) cases.

RSV is a common respiratory virus which causes mild, cold-like symptoms.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says most people recover in a week or two. But it can be serious in some cases, especially for infants and older adults.

Doctors say they are seeing children earlier in the cold season which starts around December.

“We definitely are seeing a busier season right now. Our ER is busier than it has been, but this is not something that’s completely unexpected. We have a respiratory season in Hawaii that tends to be a little later than what we see on the mainland,” said Kosut.

Doctors say they’re seeing children with RSV up to age 4 instead of the typical 2 year olds.

“In small children who can’t blow their noses or trying to drink from a bottle who can’t cough up mucous like we can. It makes for a more difficult illness for them,” said Kosut.

Hospital and healthcare officials say there can be times when the hospital is busy and wait times are longer.

“It’s not just here on Oahu. I have personally talked to each of our hospitals this morning across state, our neighbor island hospitals and they are all seeing an increase in pediatric RSV cases,” said Hilton Raethel, CEO, Healthcare Association of Hawaii.

“Our hospitals are full, but it’s not COVID,” he added.

RSV cases have skyrocketed in 33 states ― including Hawaii.

Last Saturday, the percent positivity rate for RSV in Hawaii was at 22.2%, or about three times the previous month.