MUSC breaks down pediatric respiratory disease hospitalizations
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The Department of Health and Environmental Control has reported the first pediatric flu death of the season in the midlands. In the Lowcountry, MUSC leaders say a variety of respiratory diseases, including RSV, the flu and COVID, are sending droves of children to the hospital.
Dr. Elizabeth Mack is the Division Chief of Pediatric Critical Care at MUSC Children’s Health. She says there are more than 20 children in the Pediatric ICU and Acute Care dealing with complications from respiratory illnesses.
|Pediatric ICU||Acute Care|
|RSV: 4||Adenovirus: 1|
|REV: 1||COVID-19: 3|
|COVID-19: 1||RSV: 3|
|Human metapneumovirus: 2||Rhinovirus/enterovirus: 4|
“I have shared before that staffing and beds are extremely tight, just as they are in children’s hospitals around the country. And we will always find a way to care for South Carolina’s children here. And I think as a community, we need to do more to step up our prevention efforts,” Mack says.
Mack confirms that every pediatric COVID-19 and flu case at MUSC, as of Monday, are in children who are not vaccinated. She reminds people that starting at 6 months old, infants can get a flu shot and a COVID-19 vaccine.
“Some kids have a couple of different viruses. So, when your immune system is somewhat suppressed by an infection, you’re more likely to get others whether that be viral or bacterial,” Mack says.
Mack advises parents to talk to their child’s pediatrician about their shots and to keep young children home if they are sick.
“I think there is still a lot of vaccine hesitancy in in this country in general. Even hesitancy around the quote unquote ‘routine and schedule’ that was sort of pre COVID and all of that. And it is concerning to see unvaccinated children,” Mack says.
Charleston County Schools confirm there has been an increase in absences in one of our elementary schools and parents indicated their child may have the flu, but none of those cases have been confirmed as the flu by a school nurse. The school district says as a preventative measure, facilities and maintenance crews have been requested to sanitize the classrooms involved with any child kept home for the flu.
The school will send a letter home reminding families to stay home if they don’t feel well and encouraging families to consult with their doctor. Additionally, the Department of Health and Environmental Control has been made aware of the uptick in absences, as is protocol for schools and illness reporting.
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