RSV continues upswing in Wisconsin, while flu starts to circulate

RSV(MGN, CDC / Dr. H. Craig Lyerla)
Published: Nov. 11, 2022 at 6:10 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 11, 2022 at 6:16 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Winter is shaping up to be a bad one for respiratory illnesses circulating throughout the nation. RSV remains on an upswing in Wisconsin, but influenza is slowly creeping into the picture.

To date, the CDC estimates there have been at least 1,300 flu-related deaths and about 23,000 hospitalized.

Wisconsin remains in the low-spread category for the flu, but southern states are at peak spread. Like covid surges, health experts say outbreaks tend to start in the south and make their way North, so it is something they are keeping tabs on right now.

In Wisconsin, RSV continues to be the main concern.

“The slope is not as steep as it once was, so it’s really a day by day, week by week challenge but we’re seeing over four times typical volume of kids with RSV positivity,” Dr. Joshua Ross, Chief Medical Officer with American Family Children’s Hospital.

Although spread is high, Dr. Ross says not all kids who get the illness end up in the hospital.

“It’s such an important point because I understand parents will be scared hearing about what’s going on, oh, another virus, rsv. What do I need to know? But RSV has been around for years,” said Dr. Ross. “With the masking and social distancing that we needed to do for the last couple years now kids are kind of getting many of them sick for some of the first time and so we’re just seeing a lot all at once.”

With RSV, the common cold, the flu and covid-19 all circulating through the U.S. at one time, Dr. Brad Burmeister with Bellin Health has a message for everyone.

“If you’re sick, you should really try to stay away because even though the symptoms are mild for you, they might not be so mild for other people,” said Dr. Burmeister.

Hospitals have system in place to handle surges, but when there are multiple waves of illnesses all at once it is still a strain.

“We have really dedicated health care workers and our community who have been through a lot the last few years and really have stuck through it,” said Dr. Burmeister. “All of us now have better systems in place to help with surges. I think we’re prepared hopefully for anything.”

“I know and we’re not alone. This is not just a Wisconsin thing. This is all around the country and I’m hearing from my colleagues and other children’s hospitals, and they know that they’re really trying to meet keep our doors open and make sure that we can provide the care that the kids need,” said Dr. Ross.

Click here for symptoms of RSV.