6-year-old boy dies from complications of RSV in Oakland County

Hospitals across Southeast Michigan are filling up with kids sick with RSV

OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. – A six-year-old Macomb County boy has died from complications from RSV.

Respiratory Syncytial Virus is a common virus, but it’s affecting more children with low immunity, and pediatric hospitals across the country are bracing for a rough winter.

The Oakland County Health Department confirmed the death of a 6-year-old child. Doctors have also provided Local 4 with information you need to know ahead of the cold and flu season, with COVID and now a surge in RSV cases.

Hospitals across Southeast Michigan are filling up with kids sick with RSV.

On Wednesday (Nov. 2), Local 4 learned the diagnosis proved fatal for a 6-year-old boy. He was being treated at Beaumont Hospital in Troy, where he died from complications of the illness.

“All of our hospitals are filling up with those children,” said Dr. Russell Faust. “Primarily four and under who are especially vulnerable. Those who have been premature; Those that have their immune-compromised and other respiratory ailments.”

Dr. Faust is the medical director of the Oakland County Health Department, and he says it’s hard to get a grasp on just many RSV cases there are since doctors aren’t required to report them.

“Unfortunately, RSV is so common and so easy to spread it’s almost impossible to keep kids from getting it if they’re around other sick children,” said Dr. Frank McGeorge.

McGeorge explains the signs and symptoms warranting an emergency room trip.

“But if they’re having other signs, if they seem to be hungry for air, or if they have difficulty feeding consistently, having trouble doing activities because of shortness of breath, that’s most definitely the time to get them in,” McGeorge said.

Read: Michigan’s chief medical executive discusses all things flu, RSV, common cold, and COVID-19

Dr. Faust is encouraging families to get up to date with COVID-19 vaccines and flu shots.

“We know infection with both increases the risk of fatalities many times over the infection of one or the other,” Faust said.

Older adults, especially those with health issues or conditions, are also at a greater risk of developing a severe case of RSV.

New research was announced Tuesday about a vaccine that would protect against RSV. It will not be available this season, but medical professionals across the country are hopeful that it may be available in the fall of 2023.

Ellen Bloom, the vice president of Offshore Spars in Chesterfield, created a GoFundMe fundraiser Thursday to help support a team who lost their 6-year-old son to RSV this week.

“We are taking donations to help cover funeral expenses and anything extra to support the family,” Bloom wrote on the fundraiser. “Offshore Spars will match donations up to our goal of $5,000.”

About the Authors:

Pamela Osborne is thrilled to be back home at the station she grew up watching! You can watch her on Local 4 News Sundays and weeknights. Pamela joined the WDIV News Team in February 2022, after working at stations in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.