European healthcare at risk of “severe” pressure from respiratory viruses

The European healthcare systems risk suffering from a “severe” pressure in the coming weeks and months due to the circulation of the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), the seasonal influenza and coronavirus, warned Monday the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

This reference center for epidemics in the European Union (EU) highlighted that from the end of October until now several countries have registered a increase in pediatric hospitalizations for syncytial infections, while other respiratory pathogens are circulating, which translates into an increase in the risk of health system pressure.

“The respiratory syncytial virus infections are not unusual at this time of year, but this year they are more and there have been earlier than in the pre-pandemic period, affecting proportionately more children,” explains the ECDC.

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To that must be added the seasonal influenza seasonal flu season and a “possible” resurgence of coronavirus cases after weeks of declines.

New Year’s Eve Concerns

“The New Year’s Eve holiday is associated with. activities such as social gatheringsshopping and travel, which pose significant additional risks for the transmission of respiratory viruses,” said ECDC Director Andrea Ammon.

Ammon urged strengthen health systems and support for health workers. and stressed that vaccination of at-risk groups against influenza and covid-19 should be a “priority”.

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The ECDC recommends boosting activities to risk communication among the population, including promoting vaccination; and increasing awareness among professionals to diagnose cases early and strengthen preparations for a hypothetical increased hospital burden.

It also advocates the promotion of the good hygienic practices and appropriate non-pharmaceutical interventions such as use of masks, ventilation of enclosed spaces and avoidance of crowded public spaces are considered.

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