The Ministry of Health of Catalonia asks the families of children with symptoms of bronchiolitis stay home and avoid going to kindergarten or schools to cut the chains of transmission. The respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), responsible for the bronchiolitis, for a week he has been saturate pediatric emergencies and intensive care units Catalan hospitals and doctors believe that the peak will only arrive around November 29. In Balearics, The government has admitted the bronchiolitis is “getting stronger” and asked parents to avoid exposing the baby to crowds.
“If anyone has symptom of an infectious disease, especially young children, should stay at home,” ministry sources said. It is the same recommendation which is given to anyone who shows symptoms of covid-19, for example, although confinement is no longer mandatory. The absence of mandatory masks (except on public transport, although many people do not respect this rule) and the immune memory loss the last two years are at the origin of this wave of cases of bronchiolitis among the youngest.
Hospitals have had to increase staff, double their toilets and expand intensive care and inpatient beds faced with the wave of bronchiolitis in children under one year old. Although Salut assures that RSV transmission is the as in the “pre-covid” period, the truth is that many doctors think that this year the epidemic curve is steeper than previous seasons. Indeed, it is expected that the peak of this wave of bronchiolitis, which should arrive November 29, will be higher than the pre-pandemic.
But not only the pediatric emergency are saturated, but also the general due to the mixing of other respiratory viruses such as covid-19 and influenza. The impact of the latter It doubled last week. Over the past seven days, respiratory infections have increased 14% in Catalonia, according to the most recent data from Hi, corresponding to last Tuesday.
“The hospitals in Barcelona are very full due to the increase in activity”, explains Mireia Puig, the director of the emergency department of the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau (Barcelona). There are, she says, many “urgent pathology” mainly due to respiratory infections: RSV and covid-19.
At the moment, the “novelty” in the emergency room is precisely this volume of patients. “The increase is gradual but unstoppable”, said Puig. “Right now we have 3 others of activity than in November 2019 and 15% more than in November of last year, ”says the director of the emergency department of Sant Pau. ” We are in a hurry and that’s why we try to find room for emergencies”. For example, the hospital had to postpone the scheduled admission of non-emergency pathologies.
The whole system is under strain, both hospitals and primary care, even though in Sant Pau there are no patients in the corridors emergencies as happened on Monday at Hospital del Mar. Puig calculates that the peak of the epidemic of flu It will arrive around Christmas, December 24 or 25. And, as for the covid19, They also see an “unstoppable” rise.