Early flu season causes concern
Respiratory illness in children up 80% from last 2 years, doctor says.
With flu season offl to an early start, some Central Texas clinics and hospitals are seeing more respiratory illnesses this fall and are especially concerned about a spike in respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, which hits infants especially hard.
“We are seeing a lot of cases — a lot,” said Dr. Pat Crocker, chief of emergency medicine at Dell Children’s Medical Center. “Compared to November 2010 and 2011, our load of respiratory cases are about 80 percent above those two years.” While about 10 percent of the illnesses are seasonal flu, he said, most are RSV, a virus that infects the lungs and breathing passages.
Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston is seeing a similar increase in RSV cases, said Dr. Paul Checchia, director of the cardiovascular intensive care unit and professor of pediatric critical care medicine there. “Ten to 15 percent of patients have RSV in the ICU.”
The earlier start of both illnesses could signal a bad flu
The Texas Education Agency faces a reduction of more than $500 million. Cuts could affect thousands of students and teachers. Cuts to Title 1 grants alone could mean the loss of 1,386 jobs and more than 250,000 fewer low-income students being served.