• Influenza isn't only respiratory virus causing concern in Pittsburgh


    PITTSBURGH - There are new signs that flu season is hitting the Pittsburgh area early.

    Children's Hospital has seen an increase in adenovirus and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV.)

    >>RELATED: 10 things to know about RSV or respiratory syncytial virus

    Adenovirus looks like the common cold, but can develop into a neurological disease. An outbreak in New Jersey has killed 10 children as of this week.

    RSV can cause breathing issues in children and can turn into a serious respiratory infection.

    "The bronchials are the medium-sized bronchial tubes that get inflamed and spasm and that causes the wheezing," said Dr. Jennifer Preiss, a pediatrician. 


    Parents need to be aware because it’s too early in the flu season to see these kinds of cases at the hospital already, and the serious viruses spread pretty easily.

    “His fever went up to 104.9,” said Kaitlyn Dewitt, who has spent the last 23 days at the Children's Hospital bedside of her 3-year-old son, Bradley, who had an extreme reaction to the adenovirus.

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    “We started the antibiotics, he just got weaker and weaker and it went downhill from there and then he just wouldn’t wake up,” Dewitt said.

    Bradley’s organs shut down and he got swelling on the brain. At one point, Dewitt thought she might lose him.

    “I was a wreck, I couldn’t sleep, I wasn’t eating. I would go to bed at 6 and wake up at 7 when they did their rounds," Dewitt said.

    Doctors aren’t sure why Bradley’s immune system responded this way to a fairly common virus that looks like a cold, but can lead to pneumonia.

    Another common respiratory virus, RSV, is being treated in several kids right now at Children’s Hospital.

    It is early in the season to see RSV and Children’s is anticipating the number of RSV cases will increase over the next month and then continue throughout the winter and into the spring. RSV and the adenovirus are highly contagious.

    Preiss said that kids who are at higher risk for RSV include those who were born premature, those with congenital heart defects and those who have weakened immune systems. She says some kids who are really susceptible to RSV actually get special shots during the flu season.

    Dewitt doesn’t want to scare other moms and dads, she just wants them to be extra vigilant this flu season.

    She said in the last two days Bradley is doing much better. Doctors at Children’s say they want to remind people that now is the time to get flu shots.


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