DHS Confirms Pediatric Respiratory Illness-Associated
Death in Wisconsin DHS encourages everyone 6 months and older to get vaccinated and take action to reduce the spread of illness
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) has confirmed the first pediatric death from a
respiratory illness. The death is a result of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV).
“It is with great sadness that DHS reports the first death of a child from RSV in Wisconsin this season,”
said DHS Respiratory Diseases Epidemiologist Tom Haupt. “Respiratory illness cases are on the rise
throughout the state, and it is important to take steps to protect ourselves and our loved ones,
especially before the holidays. Respiratory disease vaccines are safe and effective, and we urge all
eligible Wisconsinites to get their shots as soon as possible. Taking steps to prevent respiratory illnesses
helps keep us all healthy and can prevent serious illness, hospitalization, and death during respiratory
Influenza, RSV, and COVID-19 are circulating at significant levels in Wisconsin, with RSV activity
increasing among children under 5 years old, and influenza sharply increasing in school-aged children.
DHS encourages all Wisconsinites, especially children, older adults, and people who are pregnant, to get
vaccinated against respiratory illnesses as soon as possible and follow good prevention practices,
including washing your hands. Respiratory illness vaccines are safe and effective and prevent or reduce
symptoms of respiratory illness infections like COVID-19, flu, or RSV.
Individuals ages 60 and older, who are pregnant, and caregivers of children younger than 19 months
should contact their health care provider to determine if RSV vaccination or preventive treatment is
recommended for them. There are two options to protect children.
An RSV vaccine (Abrysvo) for pregnant people between 32 weeks and 36 weeks of pregnancy
during RSV season. The vaccine provides antibodies for newborns until they are 6 months old.
A monoclonal antibody shot (nirsevimab) for children younger than 8 months and born during,
or entering, the RSV season. Nirsevimab is also available for children between 8-19 months and
entering their second season of RSV and who are at an increased risk of severe RSV disease.
It is important to know there is a shortage of the monoclonal antibody (nirsevimab) this season, but
there is enough supply of the vaccine for pregnant people.
In addition to the RSV vaccine, DHS urges everyone 6 months and older to get the flu vaccine and
updated COVID-19 vaccine. It is especially important for people who are at greater risk of becoming
seriously ill, such as those who are pregnant, age 65 and older, and those with chronic health conditions.
By getting vaccinated, you help to protect yourself, your friends and family, and other people in you
Wisconsinites can find locations offering the flu and COVID-19 vaccine by visiting vaccines.gov or calling
211 or 877-947-2211.
Taking the following steps can also help stop the spread of germs and increase your protection:
Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.
Avoid touching your nose, eyes, and mouth.
Stay home and away from others if you feel sick.
Avoid being around others who are sick or have respiratory illness symptoms.
Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze and encourage children to do the same.
Wear a high-quality mask around others to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses.