Usually more of a winter disease, bronchiolitis was already worrying health services in mid-October, reports Franceinfo. Santé publique France reported more than 1,200 children under the age of 2 in the emergency room for bronchiolitis last week, almost a quarter more than the previous week.
Three regions were placed under the surveillance of regional health agencies. Ile-de-France reactivated its crisis cells this week due to a wave of bronchiolitis. Grand-Est and Hauts-de-France have gone into a “pre-epidemic phase”. For now, the other regions of France are not worrying the authorities.
According to the Scientific Council, in an October 5 press release, “the bronchiolitis epidemic could be large given a significant deficit in acquired herd immunity for children born after March 2020.”
Between September 27 and October 3, 1,278 children under 2 went to the emergency room for bronchiolitis. More than a third of them have been hospitalized. In Ile-de-France, the five pediatric intensive care units, or around 70 beds, are currently saturated, according to Franceinfo. The Ile-de-France ARS is concerned about the number of children affected so early in the year. The bronchiolitis epidemic often peaks in December.
For two years, bronchiolitis was almost absent in France. “The lack of circulation of this virus is directly linked to the use of barrier measures but could also be amplified by a mechanism called viral interference (difficulty for two respiratory viruses to co-circulate at the same time) as well as by the containment and travel restriction measures applied over the past few months ”, specifies the press release from the Scientific Council.