The bronchiolitis epidemic is still progressing in France

After a blank year due to Covid-19, the bronchiolitis epidemic could be particularly strong this winter, according to health authorities. It is already present in eleven of the thirteen regions of mainland France, and the last two, Brittany and Corsica, should soon join them.

In his weekly point on this respiratory disease which affects babies, the agency Public Health France notes Wednesday October 27 a “Continuation of the sharp and early increase in monitoring indicators for bronchiolitis in children under 2 years”. In mainland France, all regions are in the epidemic phase, with the exception of Brittany and Corsica, which are in the pre-epidemic phase.

Bronchiolitis is common and highly contagious, causing babies to cough and have difficulty breathing, wheezing quickly. Most of the time benign, it may however require a visit to the emergency room, or even hospitalization. During the week of October 18, 3,342 children under the age of 2 were seen in the emergency room for bronchiolitis, a third of whom (1,138) subsequently had to be hospitalized. In both cases, nine out of ten were less than one year old. Two weeks earlier, there had been only 1,779 emergency room visits of children under 2 years of age for bronchiolitis, and 643 hospitalizations.

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Last winter, confinements and barrier actions in the context of the Covid-19 epidemic also blocked other viruses, including the respiratory syncytial virus, responsible for bronchiolitis. The children were less infected than usual and therefore have less immunity, raising fears of a stronger epidemic this year.

Read also The bronchiolitis epidemic in France begins faster and earlier, warns Public Health France

Importance of barrier gestures

This phenomenon could also concern other winter viruses, including those of influenza or gastroenteritis. The health authorities therefore launched a campaign on Tuesday to remind people of the importance of barrier gestures (being masked, ventilating, washing your hands, coughing in your elbow, avoiding kisses and handshakes …), then “That a feeling of weariness tends to generalize”.

The flu epidemic has not yet started in France, where the vaccination campaign for people at risk began on October 18. For the time being, Public Health France only reports “Sporadic cases of influenza since early September”. But the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control warned on Tuesday that “The upcoming seasonal flu epidemic could be severe for the elderly”.

The World with AFP

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