“The situation at the 29 clinics with children’s wards can be described as tense based on the feedback we receive,” said the spokesman for the Ministry of Social Affairs, Oliver Grimm, the NDR on Wednesday. Small children in particular are affected by severe courses. “Of the 240 operable intensive care beds for children in Lower Saxony – as of yesterday – 68 beds were still available,” said Grimm. How many children with RSV are on normal wards in the hospital is not statistically recorded.
Day care centers: Almost every fourth child is ill
Anyone who does not have a severe course with RSV stays at home. The day-care centers also notice this. The sick leave is currently very high there, said the spokesman for the Lower Saxony State Health Office (NLGA), Holger Scharlach, the NDR. According to this, 24.6 percent of all daycare children were missing last week, but not all because of an RSV infection. The number includes acute respiratory diseases, including influenza and corona. Nevertheless, this value increased: only 19.8 percent of daycare children were sick the week before last.
Every third sample tested positive for RSV
Unlike corona or flu, RSV is not notifiable in Germany, as Scharlach said. In order to get an approximately accurate idea of how many children are infected, the Lower Saxony State Health Office collects samples from 40 medical practices in the state every week, mostly children’s and general practitioners’ practices. The samples come from patients with respiratory infection symptoms, said Scharlach. “We examine these samples in our laboratory and see which pathogens we find.” The result: According to the NLGA, RS viruses were detected in every third sample (33 percent) last week. A week earlier, 28 percent of the samples were positive.
Combined wave of RSV and influenza
In addition to the RS virus, the flu is also spreading this year – which also affects many children. In Lower Saxony, influenza viruses were detected in 40 percent of the samples from the doctor’s offices last week, said Scharlach. “We see that the influenza cases have increased significantly again,” he said. As a result, you can see “a combined wave of influenza and RSV very early on”.
Struggling for every available bed
Since the virus causes severe courses, especially in small children, many clinics are at their limits. At the end of last week, a ward in the Christian Children’s Hospital in Osnabrück was full of small RSV patients. The situation is critical, chief physician Florian Urlichs said on Friday, because you have to struggle for available beds every day. In addition, all operations that can be postponed are postponed in order to have more capacity for the care of RSV patients.
RKI: More people with respiratory infections than before Corona
More people are currently suffering from respiratory diseases than before Corona. That comes from the weekly report of the RKI “Updates on Acute Respiratory Diseases” dated November 24th. The number is above the level of the pre-pandemic years. Accordingly, more people – and thus more children and infants – come to clinics with severe acute respiratory infections.
Is RSV also dangerous for adults?
In principle, one can become infected with RSV at any age, but the virus is particularly significant in infants and small children. It can be a simple respiratory infection, but severe courses up to death are also possible. The RKI counts among risk patients, for example, premature babies and children with previous lung diseases, but also generally people with immunodeficiency or immune systems suppressed by medication.