Children’s hospitals fill up amid early surge in respiratory infections

Enlarge / An intensive care nurse cares for a patient suffering from respiratory syncytial virus who is being ventilated in the children’s intensive care unit of the Olgahospital in Stuttgart, Germany. (credit: Getty | Picture Alliance)

Doctors around the country are reporting early and dramatic surges in respiratory illnesses, with many children’s hospitals saying they’re running low on beds.

Nearly three-quarters of pediatric hospital beds are full, according to national data compiled by the Department of Health and Human Services. Some areas are seeing pediatric hospitals full, including the Washington, DC, and Boston areas.

Multiple viruses are behind the surge. As Ars reported earlier, health officials have warned about a surge in adenoviruses and enteroviruses, both common childhood respiratory viruses. One enterovirus, called EV-D68, is associated with a polio-like neurologic condition called acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) in young children, and health officials are bracing for a subsequent uptick in AFM cases. So far, the CDC has not seen such a rise this fall.

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