NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — With concerns of a “tripledemic” looming, a pediatrician at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital told News 2 doctors are already seeing very high levels of RSV and the flu.
Dr. James Antoon said parents should be wary, but more importantly proactive. He said right now there is a high number of children hospitalized with RSV.
“I can not stress enough that this is not going to be a normal winter,” Dr. Antoon said. “I know our percent positivity is about 20% which is higher than the national average, and I can say when I was in clinical last week almost half of the patients have RSV.”
However, he said the uptick is a national trend. On top of RSV concerns, he said Tennessee has one of the highest rates of flu cases in the country.
“This is the highest number of cases of flu during this time since the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, and this has a lot of doctors concerned that we are going to have a tripledemic of RSV, flu and COVID at the same time,” Dr. Antoon said.
However, he said there’s a clear reason why we are seeing a surge; cases of RSV and other raspatory viruses were down during the pandemic.
“And because of that, the seasonality of our viruses has been thrown off. Last year, we saw a never seen before RSV during the summer, and now we have this early winter surge of both RSV and flu,” Dr. Antoon said.
He said one of the biggest challenges for parents is differentiating between the three viruses as all have similar symptoms.
“There’s no way to distinguish between the three viruses besides if you were to get tested, but we really only test those who have severe symptoms of RSV,” Dr. Antoon said.
Dr. Antoon said it’s extra important to get your children vaccinated for the flu and COVID this year.
There is no vaccine for RSV, which tends to be worse in children under five and adults over 65 years of age.