Oct 28, 2022 - News

Minnesota sees spike in RSV cases and hospitalizations

Illustration of shadow hands grabbing at a tissue box

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

A respiratory virus that causes coughs and other cold symptoms is once again driving up hospitalizations in the Twin Cities. But this time, COVID isn't the culprit.

What's happening: Cases of respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, spiked across Minnesota this month, recent Department of Health data shows.

Why it matters: For most people, RSV is a mild virus that resembles a common cold. But it can be serious for infants, young children and seniors.

The big picture: It's not just Minnesota. Physicians across the country have reported seeing more RSV cases in recent weeks, Axios' Herb Scribner writes.

  • Case numbers have already reached peak levels from 2021, according to CDC data.

By the numbers: More than 100 patients who were hospitalized in the seven-county Twin Cities metro for the week ending Oct. 22 had RSV, per MDH. Close to 80 of those were children under 1.

  • The latest data, released yesterday, shows reported hospitalizations down slightly from the week prior, but still elevated.

What they're saying: An MDH spokesperson told Axios that RSV activity is "a little higher" than usual, and that hospitalizations are "above what we would expect."

  • Typically, there would be 40 to 60 hospitalizations in the Twin Cities during peak season, she said.

Driving the spread: A new strain, combined with a cohort of young kids who have had less exposure to illness due to social distancing, Stacene Maroushek, a pediatrician with Hennepin Healthcare, told KSTP.

  • Some local experts report seeing a rise in serious cases among slightly older kids this year, too, FOX9 reports.

Of note: RSV isn't the only virus circulating right now. Cases of rhinovirus, another variation of the common cold, are also up from the start of the month, per MDH.

🧠 Be smart: Being sick sucks. Cover your cough, wash your hands, and stay home when you can if you're feeling under the weather. Small steps can go a long way in keeping us all healthy!


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Twin Cities.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Twin Cities stories

No stories could be found

Twin Citiespostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Twin Cities.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more