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    Bronchiolitis: why the virus is likely to circulate a lot this winter


    RESPIRATORY DISEASE – The latest epidemiological bulletin from Public Health France shows signs of a “rapid and earlier start” in the circulation of the bronchiolitis virus. The Grand-Est and Ile-de-France regions are now in an epidemic phase. We explain to you.

    Winter illnesses are making a comeback, and with them bronchiolitis. This common and highly contagious disease, which causes babies to cough and difficult, rapid, wheezing, already affects many infants. In its weekly epidemiological bulletin published on Wednesday, Santé Publique France reports on “indicators in favor of a rapid and earlier onset of virus circulation compared to other years“.

    In total in mainland France, 1,779 children under the age of two were registered in the emergency room between October 4 and 10, a figure up 38% compared to the previous week. Of these, 643 (36%) were hospitalized. Two particularly affected regions are going into an epidemic phase according to Public Health France: Grand-Est and Île-de-France.

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    Why should we prepare for a stronger circulation of the bronchiolitis virus this year? The putting under cover due to the Covid passed by there. “Because of the barrier gestures, the children were not confronted with the virus, so their immune system was a little on standby. With the deconfinement, with a resumption of more normal life, it is a total explosion”, explains Jean-Marie Camus, respiratory physiotherapist in Mérignac (Gironde), in the TF1 report at the top of this article.

    Concern is also on the side of the Scientific Council, which explained a few days ago in its last opinion that the fight against Covid-19 has stopped the circulation of viruses such as bronchiolitis for two years now, raising fears of an epidemic “of great magnitude” this winter.

    “There, it starts very early, and a priori, if we follow the start of the curve, yes, it’s going to be a phenomenal year”, also notes with TF1 Eric Martin, physiotherapist in Bordeaux. Last weekend alone, the permanence of respiratory physiotherapists in Gironde was called 140 times.

    Hospital services are getting organized

    Faced with this strong demand, the guards will resume earlier than usual. “Logically, it starts at the beginning of November, and therefore we will anticipate two weeks because we have quite worrying figures”, explains Marik Fetouh, director of AquiRespi, the respiratory care coordination platform in New Aquitaine.

    “Last week, bronchiolitis represented 6% of emergency room visits, which is above previous years, including before the Covid epidemic”, he observes. This upstream organization will also make it possible to prepare hospital services, already in great demand during the health crisis linked to Covid-19.

    Read also

    • Colds, bronchiolitis, gastro… The return of winter illnesses
    • The return of the bronchiolitis epidemic: telltale signs of the disease in a baby

    If it is benign in 95% of cases, this disease can cause emergency visits in infants and it is strongly recommended to consult in case of symptoms. Respect for barrier gestures is also recommended to avoid contaminating the little ones.

    “We must not take babies under 3 months in supermarkets, and we must keep a minimum of distance”, insists Dr Fabienne Kochert, president of the French Association for Ambulatory Pediatrics. Kisses to babies are also to be avoided: if it is due to the respiratory syncytial virus, a cold in an adult can give bronchiolitis in a toddler.

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