Early flu sea­son causes con­cern

Res­pi­ra­tory ill­ness in chil­dren up 80% from last 2 years, doc­tor says.

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - By Maryann Roser maroser@states­man.com Flu

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

PUB­LIC ED­U­CA­TION

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.

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