As cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) surge among children in the U.S., two Kansas City police officers saw its effects firsthand, and quickly jumped into action to save a 1-month-old’s life.
Officers Richard DuChaine and Charles Owen responded to the home of Tajanea Allen last week when her 1-month-old daughter, Kamiyah, stopped breathing.
The incident, caught on body camera, shows both officers performing CPR on the tiny infant. “The baby was so small, she looked like a doll,” Owen told TODAY.
“It’s definitely a scary moment,” DuChaine added. He performed infant chest compressions and back thrusts for more than 30 seconds while Kamiyah was unresponsive — until she miraculously began breathing again.
“She’s breathing now,” one of the officers said on the body camera footage. “She is breathing.”
Kamiyah was taken to an area hospital, where she stayed for nearly a week as she recovered from RSV.
“You hear about RSV, but when you actually see it in person, it’s very scary,” Owen said.
RSV is a respiratory illness that causes mild, cold-like symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most people with the virus recover within a week or two, but it can be serious in infants and young children.
The U.S. is facing a flood of RSV cases in children. More than 20 states are reporting that 80% or more of their pediatric hospital beds are occupied, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
Dr. John Torres, NBC News senior medical correspondent, told TODAY children are especially vulnerable during this year’s cold and flu season.
“The last two years people haven’t been affected, especially children, by RSV,” Torres said. “And so now instead of the normal pool of children that could be susceptible to it, that pool is essentially doubled.”
Experts warn the rise in cases of RSV, along with a new surge of Covid cases and a strong flu season, could become a “tripledemic” in the next few months. To stay protected, doctors are urging parents to get their children vaccinated for both the flu and COVID-19, and to test regularly and keep children at home if they’re feeling sick.
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