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RSV hospitalizations on the rise in Oklahoma

This 1981 photo provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows an electron micrograph of Respiratory Syncytial Virus, also known as RSV.
CDC
/
AP
This 1981 photo provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows an electron micrograph of Respiratory Syncytial Virus, also known as RSV.

Oklahoma is experiencing a surge in pediatric hospitalizations, like the rest of the country, because of a respiratory virus that is not COVID.

A spike in respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, hit the country hard this fall and is still going. Among other things, the virus inflames and tightens airways. This is especially concerning in small children because their airways are already so tiny.

For the past few weeks, pediatric hospital statewide occupancy has been around 80%. That figure is a 3-day average, so there are times when the hospitals are significantly more full. However, it’s unclear how many of the children being hospitalized have RSV because it’s not a "reportable disease". Unlike COVID or STIs, health providers don’t have to report RSV cases to the state.

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Catherine Sweeney grew up in Muskogee, Oklahoma, and attended Oklahoma State University. She has covered local, state and federal government for outlets in Oklahoma, Colorado and Washington, D.C.
StateImpact Oklahoma reports on education, health, environment, and the intersection of government and everyday Oklahomans. It's a reporting project and collaboration of KGOU, KOSU, KWGS and KCCU, with broadcasts heard on NPR Member stations.
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