France: The bronchiolitis epidemic reaches a record level

The bronchiolitis epidemic has continued to progress in recent days in France, with visits to the emergency room and hospitalizations at levels unprecedented for 10 years.

In its weekly report, Public Health France notes a continued increase in indicators despite a shift in connection with the Toussaint school holidays, stressing that the number of visits to the emergency room and hospitalizations for bronchiolitis are very high and at levels higher than those observed at epidemic peaks for more than 10 years.

Hospitalizations for bronchiolitis represent 50% of hospitalizations following a visit to the emergency room in children under two years old, according to the health agency, specifying that in comparison, this percentage was around 40% during the peaks of previous seasons.

Traditionally, the bronchiolitis epidemic follows the same seasonal pattern from year to year. It starts between the end of October and mid-November, reaches a peak in December and ends at the end of January or even the end of February. This temporality has been affected since Covid-19, in several countries.

Common and highly contagious, bronchiolitis causes babies to cough and have difficult, rapid, wheezy breathing. If it is distressing for young parents, it is most of the time benign. In some cases, it may require a visit to the emergency room, or even hospitalization.

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