Amid the crisis in pediatric emergencies, the epidemic of bronchiolitis continues to progress. This respiratory disease, which affects children, has spread further in France in recent days, health authorities detailed on Wednesday, October 26. “Almost the entire metropolis is now in an epidemic”summarized by the French Public Health Agency in weekly report.
In mainland France, only Corsica is not yet affected, but the region is now being considered at a preliminary stage. Overseas, the epidemic, already at work in Guyana, has now hit Guadeloupe and Martinique.
Common and highly contagious, bronchiolitis causes coughing and difficult, rapid, wheezing breathing in children. Although stressful for young parents, it is mostly harmless. In some cases, it may require a visit to the emergency room, or even hospitalization.
Earlier outbreak this year
A total of 4,311 children under the age of 2 attended emergency rooms for bronchiolitis in metropolitan France during the week of October 17-23, almost double the previous week. More than 1,400 were eventually hospitalized.
The number of hospitalizations is thus higher than is usually observed in October, and for the second year in a row it confirms the scenario of the earlier epidemic. Last year’s epidemic resulted in about 2,000 hospitalizations a week at its peak.
This epidemic has affected children’s emergency services, which to a greater extent have fallen into crisis due to unsatisfactory working conditions and staff shortages. Thousands of carers this weekend condemned a “loss of meaning” because of a “irresponsible political inaction”. The government responded by announcing an emergency plan of 150 million euros, without satisfying the protesters, who still see the underlying problems as unresolved.