RSV cases lead to hospital visitor restrictions

Thank you for being one of our most loyal readers. Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing.


Wilson Medical Center is temporarily restricting visitors because of a recent outbreak in the community of the respiratory virus commonly known as RSV.

Children under the age of 12 are asked to stay away from the second floor, east, in the area of the nursery and rooms where pediatric patients and postpartum mothers are recovering. Also, no one should visit with coughing, sneezing, fever or sore throat.

The hospital does not want children bringing RSV into the hospital, said Sydney Wilkinson, infection prevention coordinator. Healthy people recover quickly from RSV, she said. But it is often difficult for children under 12 months to fight the virus.

“We want to protect our babies,” Wilkinson said.

In the past few weeks, there has been a rise in the number of RSV cases in Wilson, she said. And over the weekend, there was a surge of cases in the emergency department.

Symptoms of respiratory syncytial virus include a runny nose, decreased appetite, coughing, sneezing, fever and wheezing. RSV is the most common cause of pneumonia in children under the age of 1 year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Wilkinson advises parents to take their child to see a doctor if he is showing signs of respiratory distress, not acting like himself, is acting lethargic, is hard to arouse or has a decrease in appetite.

She also encourages people with colds or other illnesses not to be in direct contact with infants. Do not kiss or touch their face, for instance, she said.

To protect your child from RSV, the CDC recommends avoiding close contact with sick people, washing hands often, covering coughs and sneezes, avoiding touching your face with unwashed hands and staying home if you are sick.

In addition to seeing cases of RSV here, health care providers are also diagnosing croop and pneumonia. Flu cases are starting to trend up as well, Wilkinson said.