As Respiratory Syncytial Virus or RSV infections surge in the United States, a board-certified emergency room physician says Texas may face a ‘tripledemic’ of flu, COVID, and RSV infections.
HOUSTON, TX – As Texans let their guards down and ditch habits that helped keep COVID-19 at bay, a Houston emergency room physician is raising alarm about a potential surge in Respiratory Syncytial Virus or RSV, flu, and COVID infections this winter.
Dr. Hashibul Hannan, a board-certified emergency room physician, and founding member of Houston, TX-based SignatureCare Emergency Center, said this week that SignatureCare ER physicians are seeing a surge in emergency room visits due to RSV infections.
“We are seeing an increase in pediatric and adult RSV infections in our emergency rooms throughout Texas. RSV pops up during the fall and winter cold seasons every year and infects younger kids and adults over 65 years old, but this year, the rate of infection is unprecedented.
“If this continues, coupled with the potential for an increase in COVID and flu infections, Texans could see a ‘tripledemic’ surge this winter,” he said.
Respiratory Syncytial Virus, like COVID-19, is spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes, thereby spreading the virus droplets, which can get into nostrils and eyes, or when someone touches a surface that has the virus on it.
“We can lower the rate at which RSV is spreading just by doing simple things like washing our hands frequently, covering our noses and mouths when we sneeze or cough, using hand sanitizer often, and keeping our distance from others, just like we did at the height of COVID infections,” Hannan added.
He said SignatureCare Emergency Center physicians can diagnose and treat all kinds of viruses, including Rhinovirus, Influenza (flu), Parainfluenza, and RSV.
“We can diagnose and treat all these viruses, including flu and RSV, in our emergency rooms. Our physicians have the experience to quickly diagnose and treat them,” he said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported this week that Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) infections are increasing exponentially in multiple U.S. regions, with some regions nearing seasonal peak levels.
“CDC surveillance has shown an increase in RSV detections and RSV-associated emergency department visits and hospitalizations in multiple U.S. regions, with some regions nearing seasonal peak levels. Clinicians and public health professionals should be aware of increases in respiratory viruses, including RSV,” a statement posted on the CDC’s website said.
The CDC said that RSV, the most common cause of bronchiolitis (inflammation of the small airways in the lung) and pneumonia (infection of the lungs), can be serious for infants and older adults.
“Respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms. Most people recover in a week or two, but RSV can be serious, especially for infants and older adults.
“Each year in the United States, RSV leads to, on average, approximately 58,000 hospitalizations with 100-500 deaths among children younger than 5 years old and 177,000 hospitalizations with 14,000 deaths among adults aged 65 years or older,” according to the CDC.
Symptoms of RSV in children and adults include runny nose, decrease in appetite, coughing, sneezing, fever, and wheezing.
To find the SignatureCare Emergency Center location near you, go to our ER locations page. Our emergency rooms are open 24/7.