Denver hospital reports dramatic rise in number of RSV cases

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DENVER – Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children says the number of kids admitted to the hospital for RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) has more than doubled year over year.

One of those patients is Clyde Little-Nissen. The six-month-old was diagnosed with RSV one week ago and admitted to the hospital in the family's hometown of Casper, Wyoming.

His mother, McKaylah Nissen, says there were some frightening moments.

“At one point he woke up and he was blue, and there were four nurses standing over him trying to get him to breathe. Definitely, a very emotional experience,” she said.

Air Life flew the boy to Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children in Denver, where he has been in the pediatric intensive care unit since Monday.

“He's on oxygen. He has an IV in his foot,” Nissen said.

RSV is a common respiratory virus that causes cold-like symptoms, but in babies it can cause severe breathing issues and be life-threatening.

“The most common reasons for admitting children to the hospital is if they require oxygen to assist with their breathing or they are unable to stay hydrated because they are not able eat or drink well,” said Dr. Christine Darr, the medical director of the pediatric emergency department.

Darr says doctors see RSV every year and she doesn’t know of any reason for an uptick in cases this year.

“It’s somewhat the luck of the draw that a particular virus is more prevalent than others,” she said.

As baby Clyde gets better, his parents want to raise awareness.

“It can be life-threatening,” said Clyde’s father, Garrett Little.

There is no vaccine available, so doctors say good hygiene and hand washing can go a long way toward prevention.

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