Covid-19, flu, bronchiolitis: should we fear a “triple epidemic” in French hospitals?

the essential
French health professionals are observing an upsurge in hospitalizations linked to respiratory infections. As serious cases of bronchiolitis multiply, Covid-19 contaminations are on the rise again.

Saturated pediatric departments, Covid-19 contaminations which are on the rise again and the specter of a particularly strong flu epidemic next winter… The French hospital system is worried about a potential “triple epidemic” at the end of 2022. Caregivers are currently observing a very clear recovery in respiratory infections, all pathologies combined. This combination of diseases, “it is something quite unprecedented in France, comments Dr Benjamin Davido, infectious disease specialist at the Raymond-Poincaré hospital in Garches (Hauts-de-Seine). All the hospitalizations that we have recorded since the end of last week concern young populations, affected by respiratory infections.

Read also :
Covid-19: should you get vaccinated before the Christmas holidays?

Bronchiolitis struck first, as early as last October. The spread of this acute viral infection has also reached record levels this year, forcing the government to adopt the white plan at the beginning of November. More than 35,000 hospitalizations related to this disease are expected this year in the country: “Hospitalizations for bronchiolitis represent for the third consecutive week half of hospitalizations following a visit to the emergency room in children under two years old”, indicates Health Public France in its last point of situation. “We are experiencing the Covid-19 of adults in children”, alarms the epidemiologist.

A vaccination that does not follow

While health professionals expect to pass the peak of the bronchiolitis epidemic at the end of November, the Covid-19 takes over. France has nearly 45,000 new cases of contamination every day. The epidemic also seems to be starting again in a particularly virulent way in the south of France and in particular in Occitanie: the department of Hautes-Pyrénées currently has the highest incidence rate in the country with more than 740 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

For now, 18,384 people are hospitalized because of the virus. This epidemic resumption has a relative impact on the French health system: “We do not yet see a 9th hospital wave”, describes Dr. Davido. But with a vaccination campaign that does not take, the trend could well be reversed in the coming days: “There is no immunity to this lasting disease”, notes the infectiologist. Same observation with regard to the flu: only six million fragile people are vaccinated, against seven million at the end of November last year.

A return to barrier gestures?

“These three viruses will probably overlap and succeed each other, worries Dr. Benjamin Davido. We will find ourselves in a situation that will be extremely tiring, which will have a lasting impact on hospitals, health professionals responsible for testing and even our drug stocks.”

Many epidemiologists are also advocating a return to barrier gestures: washing hands and wearing a mask – at least in enclosed spaces – have enabled the French to ostensibly reduce the circulation of several viral diseases in France, these last years.

Read also :
TRUE OR FALSE. Covid-19: in nursing homes, are non-vaccinated caregivers really allowed to work?

“Public health communication insists too much on Covid-19 and not enough on the effectiveness of these barrier gestures against viral diseases, describes Dr. Davido. Covid is a word that people no longer want hear today.”

Leave a Comment