Kids are pouring into N.J. hospitals. A spate of respiratory illness cases is filling pediatric beds. - NJ.com

Kids are pouring into N.J. hospitals. A spate of respiratory illness cases is filling pediatric beds. - NJ.com

Kids are pouring into N.J. hospitals. A spate of respiratory illness cases is filling pediatric beds. - NJ.com
Sep 22, 2022 1 min, 19 secs

The biggest culprits are enterovirus and rhinovirus as well as a few cases of RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), all of which usually produce cold-like symptoms.

But in severe cases, they can cause respiratory distress.

Another school year just began, helping the viruses spread, and already the spate of respiratory illness cases are filling pediatric hospital beds.

Doctors at RWJBarnabas Health are seeing a sharp rise in pediatric enterovirus and rhinovirus cases.

“We are starting to see our ERs and our floors and our pediatric ICUs (with) a large number of these kids within the last few weeks,” Hasan said Wednesday.

In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert earlier this month warning of enterovirus D68, a rare but serious respiratory infection in children that can cause shortness of breath and develop into acute flaccid myelitis, a neurological condition that can result in muscle weakness and even paralysis.

Cooper University Hospital in Camden also reported an uptick in pediatric respiratory cases, a spokeswoman said.

While several respiratory viruses are circulating, enterovirus seems to be the main driver of new cases.

“There are some high-risk populations that we know are going to be at risk for severe illness,” she said, “and those are the kids who have asthma, the kids who have underlying chronic lung disease.

The kids who have congenital heart disease can have severe illness — so they are already on our radar.”.

“The kids who are coming into the ER setting, yes, they do have signs of respiratory difficulty, which is why they wind up getting treated with breathing treatments,” Hasan said.

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