Respiratory issues causing spike in local metro Atlanta children’s hospitals

ATLANTA — Children’s hospitals across the country are seeing an influx of patients.

“Very high rates of children with respiratory symptoms: children with breathing difficulties, coughing, fever,” said Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s medical director of pediatric infectious disease Dr. Andi Shane.

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“When we detect and do testing, we find that many of these children have RSV and during the past week seen a very high number of children that have influenza and flu infections,” added Dr. Shane.

At Children’s Scottish Rite, they’ve started using a tent outside their emergency department.

“It’s just an opportunity to space people out so there’s less crowding in the waiting rooms,” said Dr. Shane.

One cause for the spike in infections could be the pandemic.

“There is something called viral replacement. There were two things going on during the pandemic: many people were not out socializing, many people were masking. We have a generation of children who have not seen many of these viruses, especially RSV, which is a virus that most children get before the age of two, certainly before the age of five. There are more people who are more susceptible because they have experienced these viruses in the past,” Dr. Shane said.


Candrice Moody is thankful after her 6-month-old had RSV last month and spent seven days in the hospital.

“He was inhaling a more than he normally would. Day care called me and said come get him,” said Moody.

Her son Cayce was put on oxygen and lost two of his 14 pounds during the ordeal.

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Now a warning to parents to get their kids vaccinated and to take precautions.

“Hand hygiene: wash wash wash wash wash those hands as much as possible. Children get into everything. Try as much as possible to wash their hands or use some type of hand hygiene,” said Dr. Shane.