RSV cases on the rise in Canada, leaving parents worried


Since beginning daycare in March, Lydia Ip’s two-year-old daughter has been identified with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) no less than 4 occasions, she stated.

Her daughter’s most up-to-date an infection on Oct. 17 led her to spend a number of days at Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital in Vaughan, Ont. RSV, a standard childhood an infection, impacts the lungs and respiratory tract, often ensuing in cold-like signs equivalent to a runny nostril, coughing and fever.

But the virus could cause different infections as properly, equivalent to pneumonia. This was the case for Ip’s daughter, who additionally suffered from an ear an infection and noticed her oxygen saturation stage drop to 80 per cent.

“RSV actually made her more sick than COVID,” Ip instructed in a phone interview on Tuesday, referring to her daughter’s COVID-19 an infection in April. “With RSV, her cough was much more severe to the point that she threw up … COVID didn’t bother her as much.”

Ip is one in every of a number of Canadians who reached out to to share their youngsters’s current expertise with RSV. The emailed responses haven’t all been independently verified.

Cases of RSV are on the rise in Canada. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada’s newest Respiratory Virus Report, there was a gentle enhance in optimistic RSV assessments throughout the nation since early September, significantly in Quebec.

“Respiratory syncytial virus exercise (486 detections; 3.5% optimistic) is above anticipated ranges for this time of 12 months,” reads the report ending Oct. 15. Similar to the flu, RSV outbreaks are inclined to happen in seasonal waves that run from fall to late spring.

This comes at a time when emergency rooms throughout Canada are already battling lengthy wait occasions and workers shortages. Ip stated she witnessed this first-hand when she took her daughter to the hospital for a earlier RSV an infection final month. An absence of obtainable pediatric beds meant her daughter must wait almost 20 hours for a mattress, Ip stated. In the United States, a surge in RSV cases amongst younger youngsters can be overwhelming pediatric hospitals in Connecticut and Illinois.

According to PHAC, there isn’t any particular remedy or vaccine for RSV. This leaves parents equivalent to Ip worried about what subsequent infections might seem like for his or her youngsters.

“There isn’t much we could do, but prepare for the onset of [the] next [infection],” Ip wrote in an e mail to on Oct. 24. “It is such a stressful time as a parent, especially when you are so nervous not knowing when the next one will hit and how bad it will be.”


Rebecca St. John, primarily based in Calgary, stated RSV has hit her youngest of three youngsters significantly laborious. Her 18-month-old daughter will not be solely coughing, however experiencing fevers that final a number of days at a time, she stated. On Oct. 21, St. John’s daughter was identified with RSV by their household physician and given antibiotics for her cough.

“It’s very concerning,” she instructed CTV News Toronto on Monday. “Ever since people have [started] taking their masks off [and] COVID restrictions have lifted, it’s so much worse than it was before – the cough is worse, the runny nose is worse, the congestion is so much worse.”

Her two-year-old son can be contaminated with RSV, St. John stated, coughing to the level of throwing up. St. John stated she has by no means seen both of her youngsters this sick earlier than.

The rise in RSV cases this 12 months is being attributed to the implementation of fewer public well being restrictions designed to curb the unfold of COVID-19. From August 2020 to May 2021, PHAC recorded 239 confirmed cases of RSV. This was throughout the time when provinces and territories throughout Canada had imposed lockdowns, in addition to masks carrying and bodily distancing measures. During the 2019 to 2020 season, there have been 18,860 confirmed cases of RSV.

According to specialists, the lack of publicity to viruses over the final two years has made younger youngsters extra susceptible to an infection.

“I feel their immune system simply hasn’t seen the variety of viruses a typical youngster previous to the pandemic would have seen,” Dr. Thomas Murray, a Yale School of Medicine pediatric infectious illness specialist, instructed CNN.

Severe cases of RSV might require hospitalization, PHAC says, the place youngsters who’re struggling to breathe could also be given oxygen. But many infections find yourself being easy colds and often clear up on their very own after every week or two, in response to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

So far, St. John stated she has not needed to take both of her youngsters to the hospital, however she continues to make use of humidifiers and provides them Tylenol to assist clear their congestion.

“It’s really about keeping them comfortable [and] making sure they’re drinking their fluids,” St. John stated. “Other than that, you really have to just ride it out.”


For Monica Kapac, her son’s RSV an infection got here as a shock, she stated.

“I knew RSV was going around, but … I just kind of figured we were probably through the worst of it,” she instructed in a cellphone interview on Tuesday.

What began as a easy chilly became a excessive fever, Kapac stated, together with shortness of breath, wheezing, vomiting and a cough. After taking him to Okotoks Health and Wellness Centre on Oct. 20, her 11-month-old son was identified with RSV. From there, he was transferred to Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary. A number of days later, her son was discharged from the hospital and his situation has since improved, she stated.

According to the CDC, the greatest approach to relieve signs related to RSV infections is by taking over-the-counter ache and fever medicines, equivalent to acetaminophen or ibuprofen, and consuming fluids to stop dehydration. For now, Kapac offers her son Tylenol or Advil to handle his fever, and retains him hydrated with loads of liquids, she stated.

Her largest recommendation for parents is to belief their instincts if their youngsters are sick, and never shrink back from getting them the assist they want.

“Trust your gut – if something seems a little off or you’re worried about something, it’s definitely better to get it looked at,” Kapac stated. “If we hadn’t taken him in, then who knows what could have happened.”

Dr. Donald Vinh, an infectious illness specialist at McGill University in Montreal, stated RSV is kind of contagious, just like COVID-19 and different respiratory viruses.

“We are seeing a return to what it was earlier than the pandemic with these respiratory viruses, besides it isn’t simply these respiratory viruses from previous to the pandemic — added to the combine now can be COVID,” Vinh instructed on Monday.

While the virus is widespread amongst youngsters, it will also be contracted by adults. Deanna Kirkbride stated she now has RSV after her four-year-old son grew to become contaminated with the virus earlier this month. Kirkbride took her son to the Englehart and District Hospital after his fever spiked to 104 F, the place he was identified with RSV on Oct. 20. In addition to fever, he additionally has a double ear an infection and a cough.

Kirkbride stated she has a slight fever herself, in addition to shortness of breath and fatigue.

“When something like this hits, it hit hard,” Kirkbride instructed in a phone interview on Tuesday. “I’ve missed out on work for almost two weeks now.”

Her son’s situation has since improved, Kirkbride stated. She continues to offer him Tylenol and Advil to handle his fever, and he takes antibiotics for his ear infections.

One factor Kirkbride stated she hopes to see going ahead is extra consciousness round the virus and methods to deal with signs.

“When I posted online that I had RSV … my friends and family had no clue what it was,” Kirkbride stated. “Public well being must be giving out extra data and being extra open about [RSV].

“They’re very open about COVID [but] there’s other stuff out there that can be just as bad.”

With information from CTV National News Los Angeles Bureau Chief Tom Walters, CTV National News Correspondent Heather Wright, and Writers Michael Lee and Daniel Otis


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