Riverside County baby dies of suspected RSV case

A baby boy from Riverside County has died from a possible case of respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV.

The child, William Myers-Pendleton, died at a local hospital after experiencing an illness, the Riverside University Health System announced back in November 21.

According to William's family, things were going smoothly for the family's youngest child, until he developed a cough in early November. Knowing the dangers and warning about RSV, the family immediately took William to the emergency room.

ER personnel did not immediately test the baby for RSV and that wait lasted about six hours, according to the family, which demanded it and finally got a nurse to administer it. The test was positive and William was immediately airlifted to Children’s Hospital in Orange County, where treatment began. 

Baby William, from Riverside County, has died from RSV.

Baby William, from Riverside County, has died from RSV.

But the baby's breathing became more difficult. Respirators, even intubation, did nothing more than revive him. Five days after the initial trip to the Emergency room, what started out as a tiny cough, had killed the baby William.

William's parents thought they had done everything they could to keep their baby alive – whether it was limiting visitors and keeping William at home even before he developed a cough. Now, they're sharing a warning to other parents so they don't have to go through the same.

The family is also building a small memorial in their backyard in the baby's honor.  A GoFundMe page has been launched to help baby William's grieving family. Those looking to help can click here for more information.

The news of baby William's death comes just days after California reported the state's first child death linked to RSV. 

RSV can cause severe breathing problems for babies, while flu cases are also starting to rise. The situation is similar in much of the country where doctors are bracing for the possibility that RSV, flu and COVID-19 could combine to stress hospitals.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: RSV: California reports first child death due to flu and Respiratory Syncytial Virus

Officials have issued new guidance in response to the surge in RSV cases among children to help address the current and expected continued surge in hospitalizations from an early winter virus season.

Additionally, the CDPH is recommending that all health care facilities, including inpatient and outpatient facilities without existing pediatric services, look into short-term measures to expand capacity for evaluation and treatment of pediatric patients. 

Officials have provided the following tips:

  1. Get Vaccinated, Boosted and Treated if You Test Positive
  2. Flu and COVID-19 vaccines continue to be your best defense to limit severe illness and death – and you can get both at the same time. If you test positive for COVID-19, contact your doctor or a test-to-treat site immediately to seek treatment. Treatments for flu and COVID-19 work best when started soon after symptoms begin.
  3. Stay Home if You’re Sick!
  4. It’s crucial to stay home if you are feeling ill. Avoid close contact with others to protect them, and take the time you need to heal. This is especially important for respiratory viruses like the flu, RSV and COVID-19, which can lead to more severe illness.
  5. Wear a Mask
  6. There is no vaccine for RSV, so wearing a mask can significantly slow the spread and protect babies and young children who do not yet have immunity and are too young to wear a mask themselves. Wearing a mask in indoor public places is a good way to limit the spread of germs.
  7. Wash Your Hands
  8. Frequent handwashing, with soap and warm water – for at least 20 seconds, is    an easy and very effective way to prevent getting sick and spreading germs.
  9. Cover Your Cough or Sneeze
  10. Remember to cough or sneeze into your elbow, your arm, or a disposable tissue to help prevent the spread of winter viruses. Just make sure to wash your hands or sanitize and dispose of your tissue after.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.