The hospital declared an epidemic phase of RSV on November 26 after seeing a spike in RSV cases. As a result, children under the age of 12 are no longer allowed to visit inpatient areas of the hospital. "This is a very important infectious disease control policy to restrict transmission of the RSV to other patients who may be more susceptible to it," said Dr. Paulina Mariki, an infectious disease consultant.
Dr. Mariki told Action News the virus is a commonly spread virus passed through coughing and sneezing and symptoms are similar to the common cold. While most children are easily treated, the virus can cause significant respiratory issues in those under the age of two and children with chronic conditions. "Infants who have underlying lung diseases or who have underlying congenital heart defects or don't have a strong immune system, they're more susceptible to this virus and we often see them require hospitalization," said Dr. Mariki.
To date, the hospital has seen 74 cases of RSV, most of them within the last few weeks. Dr. Mariki stresses the importance of good hygiene to protect people from contracting the virus.