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Record number of infants infected with RSV receiving care at Renown’s pediatric unit

The exterior of a tall, purple, and silver building. There’s a purple sign that's lit up and reads “Renown Regional Medical Center,” in front of a road. The photo has a long exposure, so the headlights of cars passing by look like orange blurs.
Courtesy of Renown Health
Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno, Nev., which includes Renown Children’s Hospital.

The pediatric department at Renown hospital in Reno is full of babies infected with the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Infants and older adults are most at risk.

RSV symptoms can include lung congestion, cough, and fever. If a baby isn’t eating, drinking, and they’re breathing very fast, or taking pauses in their breath, parents are advised to seek medical attention immediately, said Dr. Kris Deeter, the Physician-in-Chief at Renown Children’s Hospital.

“We are breaking records in our children’s hospital for the number of babies that are arriving there,” Deeter said.

The virus can be spread through close contact, and touching infected surfaces. There have been 11 outbreaks at preschools and daycares, including an elementary school in Washoe County. In the past seven weeks, there have been more than 750 cases, said Washoe County Health District Officer Kevin Dick.

“We’re in a situation in which we all need to be concerned about protecting others in our community from being infected with respiratory diseases, COVID-19, flu, or RSV,” Dick said.

Health officials are encouraging people to get vaccinated and rethink large gatherings. The health district isn’t aware of any RSV-related deaths this year.

Lucia Starbuck is an award-winning journalist covering politics, focusing on democracy and solutions for KUNR Public Radio. Her goal is to provide helpful and informative coverage for everyday Nevadans.
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