An Ohio boy has been hospitalized after contracting three respiratory viruses at once – as some fear it will become more common after the lockdowns of recent years.
Wilder Jackson, 2, of Middletown, Ohio – just 30 miles north of Cincinnati, battled rhinovirus, enterovirus and adenovirus at the same time.
He first tested positive for the flu after his family returned home from a trip to Walt Disney World in early September. He initially appeared to have recovered.
The young boy would later run a fever repeatedly, reaching as high as 105 degrees. Doctors were surprised because he had no other symptoms.
After a confusing six weeks, Wilder was diagnosed with all three viruses at once at Dayton Children’s Hospital.
None of these viruses are considered particularly dangerous for young children, but together they made a serious combination.
Experts have also warned that these apparently mild infections will be more severe this year after two years of lockdowns and pandemic-related restrictions that have left the immune system untrained to deal with them.
Children’s hospitals across the country have reportedly struggled to cope with a recent spate of infections, some of which have been filled to the brim with young patients.
Wilder Jackson, 2, of Middletown, Ohio, was hospitalized after being simultaneously infected with rhinovirus, enterovirus, and adenovirus
The boy was suffering from a fever so severe that he began to have hallucinations. His family took him to a local hospital where he was given the last available bed
Wilder’s family told ABC that they initially treated him with Motrin and Tylenol to relieve his fever symptoms – but they kept coming back.
His family first took him to the emergency room at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital when the fever rose to 103 degrees on a Friday night.
Ciara, the boy’s mother, said the family was initially told it was just a virus and that it would be fine.
“They took his temperature twice and then sent us home — because his fever had broken — because we had given them Tylenol,” she explained.
Two days later, Wilder’s fever had risen to 105 degrees and he was having fever dreams. His mother said he suffered from hallucinations.
‘[He was] thinking he was outside. We were sitting inside on the couch and he said, ‘I want to go in. I have to get away from the dinosaur,” she said.
“He looked at stains on the ceiling and then started to panic and cry and he was shaking. It was some sort of parental instinct — we have to go in.’
Wilder was taken to Dayton Children’s Hospital in the morning. Doctors were initially confused that his severe fever was not accompanied by other symptoms.
After a few days in the hospital, Wilder recovered from his illness and returned home. His sister had been hospitalized with the cold just a few weeks earlier
After running tests, the boy was diagnosed with three relatively mild viruses — rhinovirus, enterovirus and adenovirus — which can be devastating when combined.
When he was transferred to the main hospital campus in Dayton for treatment, his family was informed that he had been given the last available bed.
Like many hospitals, Dayton Children’s was hammered by a spate of respiratory infections.
The Department of Health and Human Services reported last week that 75 percent of pediatric beds in the US were occupied.
WHAT IS RSV?
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common virus that affects nearly all children by the age of two.
In older children and adults, RSV can cause colds and coughs, but in young children it can cause bronchiolitis.
The virus is spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It can survive on a surface for up to 24 hours.
Children remain contagious for up to three weeks, even after their symptoms have resolved.
RSV accounts for 450,000 GP appointments, 29,000 hospitalizations and 83 child deaths per year in the UK.
In the US, it leads to about 58,000 hospitalizations and 100 to 500 deaths among children under the age of five.
“We felt very lucky to come in,” she said.
She continued: ”My cousin who works [at Children Dayton’s] said they use pre-operative rooms for regular hospital rooms because they’re running out of space there.”
After being in the hospital for two days, Wilder was released Wednesday morning after his fever subsided for 24 hours.
This wasn’t the first scary situation the family has experienced lately either.
Wilder’s younger sister, Frankie, 1, was hospitalized for six hours after suffering a severe cold a few weeks ago.
Experts have warned that this year’s flu season will be more brutal than the previous one, even warning of a “triplemic” between Covid, the flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former head of the Food and Drug Administration, said last weekend the country was facing an aggressive flu season.
“We’re seeing a spike in cases now,” he told CBS’ Face the Nation.
“This is no different from last year’s season, where we also saw an early peak.
‘Some people attribute it to the fact that children are somewhat removed from the circulating pathogen, so that you have less immunity against the pathogen, so also less immunity in the population in general.
“So that’s changed the typical cycle for this virus.”
According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 5,447 cases of RSV were recorded in the week ending Oct. 22.
A peak of 7,993 cases was recorded during the week ending October 15.
Some have linked this jump in cases — and its severity — to Covid precautions in recent years.
The flu and other common viruses were nearly eradicated due to lockdowns, social distancing, masking and other pandemic-related orders.
As a result, many do not have the immune system strength needed to fight infection.