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Respiratory virus cases on the rise in AZ

(Source: CBS 5 News) Arizona has seen a 76 percent increase in respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, cases over last year, and the season's just getting started. (Source: CBS 5 News) Arizona has seen a 76 percent increase in respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, cases over last year, and the season's just getting started.
PHOENIX (CBS5) -

It's well known that the flu has hit early and hard this year, but what about the bug that makes little children really sick? There's a respiratory virus that is rapidly on the rise, too.

RaeLynn Fessler has been at Phoenix Children's Hospital since Monday with respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV.

"She is 8 months old as of yesterday," said her mother, Raeann Fessler.

"(RSV) is a virus that's been out there for - probably since the early '60s," said Dr. Bob Graham, Phoenix Children's Hospital medical director of respiratory care.

"I really thought that we were in the clear of it because I've kept me and my kids in a bubble, you know? They don't go to day care, we stay home and they just caught it. It really shows anybody can catch it," Fessler said.

RaeLynn is fighting to get better. There is no medication to treat the virus. Patients just need rest and fluids. RaeLynn has an IV and feeding tube to help her get healthy, but her mom just got another surprise.

"My son, who is 2 now, has RSV. So they're on their way here to the ER now as we speak," she said.

And the Fessler family isn't alone. Arizona has seen a 76 percent increase in RSV cases over last year, and the season's just getting started.

"We usually see the biggest incidents between December and the middle of March. And most of the sickest babies come in mid-January to mid-March," Graham said.

The most obvious symptom in infants is a runny nose.

"And frequently, because babies are so used to breathing out of their nose, they will actually have difficulty breathing. So the young child might not be interested in taking a bottle or nursing," Graham said.

Graham said parents need to wash their hands and keep siblings clean, too. He said if parents notice their baby having a hard time breathing it's probably not a bad idea to call their doctor.

Because of the increase in RSV cases, Phoenix Children's Hospital has announced temporary visitor restrictions. All visitors must be at least 12 years old and free from respiratory problems.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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