Iowa Hospital Bans Expectant Mothers, Partners Over Virus Concerns

“Hopefully they will survive that infection, but there are those that do not unfortunately.”

Virus causes hospital to cancel maternity tours | 

Jan 13, 2020 |

WHO TV, DES MOINES, Iowa – Flu season is ramping up in Iowa, but there’s another virus that has health officials concerned.

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) may be trailing only influenza in central Iowa viruses, but it may be just as lethal.

“Potentially fatal. We have our hospital full with infants and children with multiple viral illnesses, but RSV is one of our most prevalent,” said Carrie O’Brien of UnityPoint Health.

Children 12 months old and younger are most vulnerable.

O’Brien said, “Hopefully they will survive that infection, but there are those that do not unfortunately.”

Iowa Department of Public Health Medical Director and State Epidemiologist Dr. Caitlin Pedati says there’s one glaring difference between the flu and RSV. “Unfortunately, there are other viruses we don’t have vaccines for, and RSV is an example of one of those.”

In response, Des Moines’ UnityPoint hospitals are prohibiting expecting families from touring maternity wards for the entire month of January.

O’Brien said, “It could be weeks. It could be months.”

They are also encouraging visitors with friends and family receiving any type of care to stay away.

“Being able to provide the best patient care for those individuals unfortunately does mean we are asking to limit people that they come in contact with … ” Read more. 


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