European vaccination experts: Influenza and RSV wave rolling through Europe

As of: 12/01/2022 4:42 p.m

Europe is experiencing an early wave of RSV and influenza infections. Because this can pose a threat to health systems and the population, leading European health experts have called for vaccinations.

Faced with a wave of RSV and flu infections in Europe, leading health experts have called on risk groups to be vaccinated against flu (influenza) and Covid-19. Together, the pathogens pose a threat to health systems and populations, they explain.

Vaccinations important for vulnerable groups

In a joint statement wrote EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides, WHO Regional Director Hans Kluge and the Director of the EU Health Authority ECDC, Andrea Ammon, among other things: “This underlines how important it is for vulnerable groups to be vaccinated against influenza and Covid-19 – and how important it is for everyone to protect themselves and others from infection.”

The RS virus

The RS virus is a worldwide pathogen of acute diseases of the upper and lower respiratory tract. It is considered to be one of the most important causative agents of respiratory infections in infants, mainly premature babies and young children.

Many people in hospitals since October

While the influenza viruses A and B spread comparatively early in Europe, Covid-19 is still a threat. In addition, this prepares especially for infants dangerous Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is of growing concern.

Around 20 countries have registered an increasing number of RSV cases since October. Since October, more and more people – especially older people – have been coming to hospitals with the flu, the experts reported.

Unpredictable situation in Europe

Against the background of this mix of various respiratory diseases, it is difficult to predict how the situation could develop this winter. The health experts therefore warned that vaccination programs and preparedness measures in European countries should be strengthened:

We can’t say it often enough: Vaccines save lives.

Each individual can also use measures such as washing hands, wearing a mask and keeping your distance to help prevent the spread of the infection, the joint report said.

Lack of beds in children’s hospitals in Germany

Due to the high number of RSV infections in children, an acute shortage of beds in children’s hospitals is also becoming more important in Germany. “Out of 110 children’s hospitals, 43 facilities did not have a single bed available in the normal ward,” said the German Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine (DIVI) in Munich.

There are only 83 free beds in general in pediatric children’s intensive care units throughout Germany – that is less than one free bed per location. The association wrote to 130 children’s hospitals for the current survey. 110 houses had provided their data from the sample day November 24th, i.e. a week ago.

Many children can heal at home

Lower Saxony’s Health Minister Daniela Behrens spoke of an “extremely serious situation” in an interview with the “Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung” with regard to the cases of the RS virus.

The director and doctor of the Hanover children’s hospital Auf der Bult, Agnes Genewein, also confirmed to the Evangelical Press Service a steep increase in diseases with the RS virus. Especially in young babies, severe courses occur again and again. Nevertheless, most of the courses are so mild that the children recover at home without staying in the hospital.

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