Area hospitals provide updates on influenza and RSV cases

South Carolina health officials predict a potentially severe flu season. SCDHEC announced that the first flu-related pediatric death in South Carolina was reported on Monday. Health officials say this is the second flu-related death in the state this season. In mid-October, health officials confirmed the first flu-related death in the state. State health officials say the state saw widespread flu activity in the first week of the flu season for the first time in eight years. SCDHEC’s chief epidemiologist, Dr. Linda Bell, says they don’t usually see widespread flu activity until January. In the first month of flu season, she says the state reached more than half of the total number of outbreaks reported last season. She says cases of influenza and RSV are increasing and circulating simultaneously. cases, but RSV outbreaks should be reported. “This year, the number of RSV outbreaks reported so far is almost double the number of outbreaks reported last year, which was the worst in years,” Bell said. Doctors attribute the high flu rate and RSV activity largely to children returning to school and people resuming their normal activities after the pandemic, calling it a “perfect storm”. Doctors say transmission of the respiratory virus over the past two years was low due to many precautions taken during the COVID -19 pandemic, such as wearing masks.”The number of reported influenza and RSV outbreaks in schools is pretty high now,” Bell said. Upstate Bon Secours St. Francis says flu hospitalizations have been in the uh single digits in recent weeks. A hospital spokeswoman said she saw many positive tests in emergency departments, urgent care and primary care offices, but these did not translate to hospitalizations. Prisma Health in Greenville says DHEC has approved an alternative care site at Prisma Health Children’s Hospital A spokesperson for Prisma says it is a 14-bed treatment and discharge unit for patients with low gravity. Doctors say flu, RSV and COVID-19 symptoms can often look the same. “Headaches, body aches. All of those things can happen in flu and COVID and that sort of thing,” said Dr. Don Moore, of Lexington Medical Center. “Generally the taste isn’t affected as much by the flu as it can be, especially in the early forms of COVID. But I think you need to test better to really distinguish and say it’s the one and not the other.” Bell says at home COVID-19 tests won’t test for the flu. She said there are no home tests for flu, but people can get infected with flu and COVID-19 at the same time. “It’s very common for many of our children to test positive for multiple viruses when we test for viruses, and it can be all sorts of combinations of viruses,” said Dr. Allison Eckard, of MUSC Children’s Health. Eckard says that health complications depend on a child’s age and underlying conditions.State health officials say children often have the same rate of hospitalization for the flu as adults over the age of 65. Doctors say most hospitalized flu patients have an underlying condition such as asthma, diabetes or sickle cell disease Doctors say a number of children’s hospitals and emergency departments across the state are at capacity for influenza and RSV patients.”Children’s hospitals are at extremely high capacity across the state,” Melanie Matney, the SCHA Chief Operating Officer, said. stated that the main prob The issue regarding hospital capacity is staffing. She says more beds could probably be opened if there were proper staff. Doctors encourage people to get vaccinated against flu and COVID-19. There is no vaccine against RSV; however, Pfizer has announced that it is testing an RSV vaccine for pregnant women. Doctors say children under 6 months to 1 year are most at risk. “Having a vaccine would be amazing because right now clearly all we have is antibodies that we can give,” said Dr. Anna-Kathryn Burch of Prisma Health. Dr. Carl Chelen of McLeod Children’s Hospital says that RSV has been around for a while. He says new vaccines show promise, but he would like to see a lot of testing before an RSV vaccine is approved and used. “There have been at least two vaccine trials traditional type over the last century that really haven’t shown well, and there’s been an increase in disease with these traditional vaccines,” Chelen says. Chelen says people who get RSV when they’re older often tolerate it better than infants who catch it. He says you can also catch RSV more than once.

South Carolina health officials predict a potentially severe flu season.

SCDHEC announced that the first flu-related pediatric death in South Carolina was reported on Monday. Health officials say this is the second flu-related death in the state this season.

In mid-October, health officials confirmed the first flu-related death in the state.

State health officials say the state saw widespread flu activity in the first week of flu season for the first time in eight years.

SCDHEC’s chief epidemiologist, Dr. Linda Bell, says they don’t usually see widespread flu activity until January. In the first month of flu season, she says the state reached more than half of the total number of outbreaks reported last season.

She says cases of influenza and RSV are increasing and circulating simultaneously.

DHEC states that it does not require reporting of individual RSV cases, but that RSV outbreaks must be reported.

“This year, the number of RSV outbreaks reported so far is almost double the number of outbreaks reported last year, which was the worst in years,” Bell said.

Doctors attribute the high flu and RSV activity largely to children returning to school and people resuming their normal activities after the pandemic, calling it a “perfect storm”.

Doctors say transmission of the respiratory virus over the past two years has been low due to many precautions taken during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as wearing masks.

“The number of reported influenza and RSV outbreaks in schools is quite high now,” Bell said.

Upstate, Bon Secours St. Francis says flu hospitalizations have been in the single digits in recent weeks. A hospital spokeswoman said she saw many positive tests in emergency departments, urgent care and primary care offices, but these did not translate to hospitalizations.

Prisma Health in Greenville Says DHEC Approved Alternative Care Site at Prisma Health Children’s Hospital

A Prisma spokeswoman said it was a 14-bed treatment and discharge unit for low-acuity patients.

Doctors say flu, RSV and COVID-19 symptoms can often look the same.

“Headaches, body aches. All of those things can happen in flu and COVID and that kind of stuff,” said Dr. Don Moore, of Lexington Medical Center, “Generally the taste isn’t affected as much by the flu than it can be, especially in the early forms of COVID. But I think it takes better testing to really tell the difference and say it’s one and not the other.

Bell says home COVID-19 tests will not test for the flu. She said there were no home tests for flu, but people could get infected with flu and COVID-19 at the same time.

“It’s very common for many of our children to test positive for multiple viruses when we’re testing for viruses, and it could be all sorts of combinations of viruses,” said Dr. Allison Eckard, of MUSC Children’s Health.

Eckard says health complications depend on a child’s age and underlying conditions.

State health officials say children often have the same rate of flu hospitalizations as adults over 65.

Doctors say most hospitalized flu patients have an underlying condition such as asthma, diabetes or sickle cell disease.

Doctors say a number of children’s hospitals and emergency departments across the state are at capacity for flu and RSV patients.

“Children’s hospitals are extraordinarily high-capacity across the state,” said Melanie Matney, SCHA’s chief operating officer.

Matney said the biggest issue with hospital capacity is staffing. She says more beds could probably be opened if there were proper staff.

Doctors encourage people to get vaccinated against flu and COVID-19. There is no vaccine against RSV; however, Pfizer has announced that it is testing an RSV vaccine for pregnant women.

Doctors say children under 6 months to 1 year are most at risk.

“Having a vaccine would be amazing because right now clearly all we have are antibodies that we can donate,” said Dr. Anna-Kathryn Burch of Prisma Health.

Dr. Carl Chelen of McLeod Children’s Hospital says RSV has been around for a while. He says the new vaccines show promise, but he would like to see a lot of testing before an RSV vaccine is approved and used.

“There have been at least two traditional-type vaccine trials over the last century that really haven’t worked well, and there’s been an increase in disease with these traditional vaccines,” Chelen said.

Chelen says people who get RSV when they’re older often tolerate it better than infants who get it. He says you can also get RSV more than once.

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