Bronchiolitis: the Grand Est and Île-de-France are becoming "epidemic phase"

All the other regions of metropolitan France have gone into “pre-epidemic phase” for bronchiolitis, which has been circulating early in the territory for several days.

After a winter with very few cases of bronchiolitis, or late, the epidemic this year started earlier, and could be particularly strong, according to forecasts by health authorities. While the circulation of this disease, which affects children under two, usually starts in mid-October, an increase in the number of cases has been observed for several weeks already.

In its last bulletin Wednesday evening, Santé Publique France has thus placed the regions of Grand-Est and Île-de-France “in an epidemic phase”.

Regional alert level for bronchiolitis, in children under 2 years old, in week 40
Regional alert level for bronchiolitis, in children under 2 years old, in week 40 © Santé Publique France

“Detect as early as possible the onset of the epidemic”

Two regions were part territories in “pre-epidemic phase” last week (Grand-Est and Hauts-de-France), ten are present on this list in the last bulletin, including all the metropolitan regions: Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, Brittany, Center-Val-de- Loire, Normandy, New Aquitaine, Occitanie, Pays-de-la-Loire, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur and Guyana.

Having a region in the “epidemic” phase means that the epidemic surveillance indicators show active circulation of the virus in a territory. The “pre-epidemic” phase is an alert after observing an increase in the number of cases.

“The idea is to be able to detect as early as possible the onset of the epidemic, to allow the establishment of the organization of hospital services”, explained last week to AFP Delphine Viriot, epidemiologist at the French public health agency.

“It starts very strong and very early”

In Île-de-France, the Regional Health Agency is already worried about the overload of its pediatric services so early, with currently saturated bed occupancy. “It starts very strongly and very early”, declares to BFM Paris Bertrand Delaisi, pneumo-pediatrician in Boulogne-Billancourt (Hauts-de-Seine).

Santé Publique France notes indeed “indicators in favor of a rapid and earlier start of the circulation of the bronchiolitis virus compared to previous years”.

This advanced epidemic, and stronger, would be due to the lack of immunity of toddlers who hardly encountered the virus last winter, due to the barrier gestures and confinements put in place to fight against Covid-19 .

Salome Vincendon

Salome Vincendon BFMTV reporter

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