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Bronchiolitis and gastro still there, the flu in ambush

Auscultation of a patient by a general practitioner in his office. Drawing. – S. ORTOLA / 20 MINUTES

The epidemics of bronchiolitis and gastroenteritis continued to progress last week across the country, while
influenza activity was still “weak” but increasing, with half of the regions in the “pre-epidemic” phase.

Bronchiolitis, a common respiratory disease that affects babies under the age of 2, resulted in just over 5,000 emergency room visits the week of December 23, 10% more than the week before, according to the weekly bulletin of the public health agency France public health.

A gastroenteritis epidemic during Christmas week

The epidemic has been underway in all metropolitan areas since the week of December 9. About a third (35%) of children seen in the emergency room have been hospitalized, the vast majority (93%) of babies under one year of age. Bronchiolitis also motivated 797 visits to SOS Doctors (15% more than the week before).

Caused by a virus, RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) or bronchiolitis is very contagious and causes coughing and difficulty breathing, which becomes rapid and wheezing. Consultations in general medicine linked to gastroenteritis increased significantly during the Christmas week, with 289 consultations for acute diarrhea per 100,000 inhabitants, according to the Sentinel network estimates, against 177 the previous week.

Flu cases on the rise

Six regions of metropolitan France out of 13 were also in a “pre-epidemic” situation for influenza, against four the previous week, according to Public Health France. These are Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, Brittany, Ile-de-France, Occitanie, Pays de la Loire and Provence-Alpes-Côte d´Azur. At the national level, there were “51 consultations for influenza-like illness per 100,000 inhabitants”, against 46 the previous week. “The proportion of influenza-like illness among SOS Doctors’ consultations is also increasing slightly”, to 3.7% instead of 3.5%, the health agency said.

61 serious cases had to be admitted to intensive care since the start of surveillance for this viral disease, 14 more in one week. Seasonal flu affects two to six million people each year. It causes tens of thousands of emergency visits and causes an average of 10,000 deaths. Last winter, the epidemic had resulted in lower mortality than the average of previous years, but despite everything important, given its short duration, with approximately 8,100 deaths estimated during the two months of epidemic phase.

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