Tulsa Health Dept.: RSV cases continue to rise

TULSA, Okla. — An El Reno teenager died from Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). The Tulsa County Health Department (THD) said RSV cases continue to rise among children and older adults.

Just last month, 13-year-old Daniel Maifield was enjoying teenage life and being what his family described as “adventurous.”

They never thought RSV would impact their lives. His family said it happened so fast and thought it was just a cold at first. However, the family is left in mourning and remembering Daniel’s loving spirit.

“He was always happy,” his sister Kambry said. “I missed when he annoyed me all the time.”

He passed away earlier this month. His family said he had an autoimmune disorder, too. Kambry remembers his final days as heartbreaking.

“He would get so weak that he could barely talk. It felt like his tongue was swollen you could barely understand what he said. I just hate looking at him like that,” she said.

THD epidemiologist Madison Thomas said RSV cases started earlier than normal and we are seeing an uptick in cases compared to the last couple years.

Thomas said it is not clear why we are seeing more cases than usual.

“Taking all the precautions that we did the last couple of years for Covid and now we’re not taking as many precautions as before, [maybe] that’s what’s having the virus spread around more. It’s really hard to say,” Thomas said.

This holiday season she is reminding people to keep babies, older adults and those with immune compromised health safe because the virus is worse for them.

“Washing hands frequently for the appropriate amount of time, making sure to avoid contact with eyes, nose, mouth; avoid contact with the face with unwashed hands and if you are feeling sick no matter what it is, if you’re experiencing cold-like symptoms, it really is important to stay home,” Thomas said.

Thomas adds, RSV symptoms include coughing, sneezing and runny nose, but if you are experiencing difficulty breathing, go to the hospital.