EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- As the winter months near, area hospitals prepare for an increase of cases caused by Respiratory syncytial virus, more commonly known as RSV. Some hospitals tell ABC-7 they are already seeing a rise in the number of cases.
RSV is a respiratory virus that infects the lungs and breathing passages. All groups can be affected, but the virus most commonly causes problems for babies and the elderly. It can lead to hospitalization or, in some cases, be fatal.
According to Jeffrey Schuster, MD Chief Medical Officer at El Paso Children's Hospital, in October the staff identified 39 cases of RSV, 15 of which required hospitalization. Halfway through the month of November, El Paso Children's hospital has already seen 59 cases, with 34 requiring hospitalization.
"RSV, in you and me, hopefully would be [a] cold, but in the highest risk patients, it can be extremely severe," Schuster said.
According to Dr. Hector Ocaranza, El Paso City/County Health Authority, some pediatricians are slowly receiving new treatment for patients with severe cases of RSV.
Beyfortus, the new antibody treatment, stays in the body for about five months, but has seen shortages throughout the nation.
El Paso Children's Hospital said they are expected to receive the antibody treatment in the coming days.
"The company that makes it is already ramping up and distributing more to locations where they are having big hot spots," said Schuster. "We're very pleased to have something like this at this point, because this RSV used to carry babies away on a regular basis."