Bronchiolitis: new increase in emergency room visits and hospitalizations in infants

In its latest bulletin on the evolution of the epidemic of bronchiolitis in children, Public Health France warns of a new increase in emergencies and hospitalizations, since the end of the All Saints holidays.

The bronchiolitis epidemic continues in France. While all the regions of metropolitan France have been in an epidemic phase since November 10, the infection is not receding.

In children under two years of age, emergency room visits and hospitalizations linked to bronchiolitis rebounded the week of November 14, after a lull at the beginning of the month, according to the latest Public Health France bulletin on the epidemic, published this Wednesday.

This lull only represented a one-time decrease “linked to school holidays” and All Saints’ Day, the agency explains.

9% increase in emergency room visits

In detail, compared to the previous week, a 9% increase in emergency room visits for bronchiolitis was recorded between November 15 and 21; as well as a 7% increase in hospitalizations. A total of 573 calls to SOS Médecins were made for cases of bronchiolitis.

Of the 3,609 children under two seen in the emergency room, 3,189 (88%) were under one and 1,257 (35%) were hospitalized. Of these, 92% were less than one year old.

The barrier gestures, responsible for the epidemic?

Common and highly contagious, bronchiolitis causes babies to cough and difficult, fast, and wheezing. Most of the time benign, it may however require a visit to the emergency room, or even hospitalization.

Last winter, confinements and anti-Covid barrier gestures helped block all viruses, including RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), responsible for bronchiolitis. The children were less infected than usual and are therefore less immunized collectively, raising fears of a stronger epidemic this year.

This phenomenon could also concern other winter viruses, including those of influenza or gastroenteritis.

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