The respiratory syncytial virus is hospitalizing an increasing number of children in Lower Saxony. Children's beds are already in short supply in some clinics.

rsv virus
[RSV in microscope]

RSV infections cause more sickness and hospitalizations in young children. The numbers are anticipated to grow further in the following weeks, according to the Robert Koch Institute. On the development of little children, children's acute care and emergency physician Florian Hoffmann told the German Press Agency, "It's no longer a curve, but the figures shoot up vertically."

RSV particularly dangerous for infants and young children

Many infants as young as one or two years old are impacted, owing to the corona epidemic and the measures put in place to combat it, according to Hoffmann, who is also Secretary General of the German Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine (Divi). There are already few free cots at clinics in various federal states, including Lower Saxony and Bavaria. Hoffmann mentioned "disaster circumstances." Families with ill children are occasionally forced to sleep on a bunk at the emergency department. That is a symptom of Germany's poverty. Many of the affected children are critically ill and require ventilation.

RSV situation in Lower Saxony

In Lower Saxony, the rising number of patients is straining several clinics, partially due to a lack of staff. According to Chief Physician Florian Urlichs of the Christian Children's Hospital in Osnabrück, an entire ward is filled of little RSV patients. The issue is severe since you must compete for available beds on a daily basis. Furthermore, any surgeries that may be postponed are postponed in order to increase capacity for RSV patients.

However, not everywhere in Lower Saxony is as tense as Osnabrück. In comparison to the Divi Secretary General, the Ministry of Social Affairs was still quite complacent on Friday: there had been 23 confirmed instances of RSV infections in the previous week.

Hanover: Doctors see more cases

Other hospitals, on the other hand, have lately reported that they have been taking in an increasing number of youngsters with RSV in the last few days. Half of the children's ward at the Bernward Hospital in Hildesheim is filled, but there are also corona and influenza cases. Stefan Zorn, a spokesman for the Hannover Medical School, reported on Friday that the emergency department was noticeably packed. According to Zorn, there is now adequate capacity to treat everyone. Doctors are currently observing not just a considerable increase in RSV infections, but also more severe cases.

There was an unusually high RSV wave in late summer 2021, but the situation is now worse, according to Divi Secretary General Hoffmann. There is a "dramatic epidemic event" in the northern hemisphere, not just in Germany.

According to statistics from the online poll "GrippeWeb," the number of acute respiratory infections in general had grown dramatically compared to the previous week, according to the RKI weekly report. It was over seven million in the week ending November 20, much above the pre-pandemic level. This is also apparent in the charting of newly admitted patients with severe acute respiratory infections (sarees): According to the RKI, due to the unusually strong RSV circulation, there are currently significantly more cases of sarees in children under the age of four than in the pre-pandemic years and the previous year. Saree values are also extremely high in the following age groups up to 14 years.

Is RSV also dangerous for adults?

RSV may be contracted at any age, but the disease is more dangerous in newborns and young children. It might be as simple as a respiratory illness, but it can potentially progress to death. Premature babies and children with previous lung diseases, for example, are considered high-risk patients by the RKI, as are people with immunodeficiency or suppressed immune systems in general.
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