Hawke's Bay Today
‘WORST IN 28 YEARS’
High numbers of vulnerable children are getting RSV
Visits to parts of Hawke’s Bay Hospital have been
restricted to help prevent further spread of lifethreatening Respiratory syncytial virus, which has seen a soaring number of sick children needing hospital care.
Visiting in several parts of Hawke’s Bay Hospital has been restricted to help prevent further spread of lifethreatening respiratory syncytial virus.
Known as RSV, the virus has been hitting vulnerable babies and sick children throughout the country, with Hawke’s Bay District Health Board medical director wha¯nau and communities Dr Philip Moore saying: “I have not seen the numbers of sick children needing hospital care, like this, in all my 28 years as a paediatrician in Hawke’s Bay.”
Yesterday morning five babies and small children were in intensive care in Hawke’s Bay Hospital in Hastings,
and the children’s ward had “a number of children” needing oxygen support to help them breathe, he said.
The DHB has limited visiting in the maternity unit, children’s ward and Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU), Emergency Department (ED) and Intensive Care Unit.
Moore said no visitors other than parents and main caregivers would be able to visit Hawke’s Bay Hospital’s maternity units; Waioha and Ata Rangi or SCBU and the children’s ward.
For those needing urgent care there would be restrictions in ED (one support person), and ICU is restricted to immediate family, two visitors, once a day.
All visitors in these areas are to wear masks and other protective clothing if required, a statement said.
The maternity restrictions also apply to Wairoa Hospital, where there has also been an increase in child presentations in the last two days.
Moore said RSV is “very contagious” and causes severe and lifethreatening illness in babies and sick children.
One particularly worried mum
With her background, I’m worried if she can handle this. Natalie Izatt, mum
was Natalie Izatt, from Taradale and mother of 4-month-old Brooklyn Izatt-Sutton, who has been fighting for her life after becoming infected with RSV.
Brooklyn has battled major heart problems since she was born and Izatt said that on Sunday night, after noticing the breathing was much faster, she took her daughter back to hospital.
“With her background, I’m worried if she can handle this. Is her heart going to handle it?” she said.
“They immediately transferred her to intensive care because of her history,” Izaatt said. “A couple of hours later she tested positive for RSV.”
Brooklyn also developed bronchitis and required oxygen to help her breathe. “It’s heartbreaking, the hospital isn’t new to us,” she said. “It does suck seeing your daughter this sick.”
She was trying to avoid her daughter getting RSV, especially due to her vulnerable immune system, and warns other parents to “treat it like it’s Covid” and to keep children home if they are sick, because it’s the immune-compromised babies and children that end up in intensive care.
Moore said it’s very important that parents and caregivers keep children warm and at home and away from other children if they were sick. Children who had younger siblings or babies at home should be kept away from school, kindergarten, early childcare centres and ko¯hanga reo where possible.
“The hand-washing, self-isolation and social distancing families followed so well during last year’s Covid-19 lockdown are a good guide to the care we need to control this RSV outbreak,” Dr Moore said.
Pauses with breathing could be a symptom of severe RSV illness in babies and signs, especially in the very young, meant they should be seen by a doctor urgently. Other signs of when to seek medical attention urgently include audible wheezing sounds, breathing with very fast laboured breathing (the ribs appear to suck inward when the child breathes in), the child seems very unwell or sluggish and lethargic.