First signs of influenza, RSV remission

After period of intense escalation, medical experts note easing of cases in recent days

First signs of influenza, RSV remission

Medical experts have observed the first signs of easing in the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza and other seasonal viral infections in children in recent days, following an intense and escalating outbreak.

Nonetheless, pediatric clinics remain at high occupancy, mostly with cases of RSV, which in adults usually causes mild symptoms similar to a cold, but in children can lead to bronchiolitis and pneumonia or, less often, respiratory failure. 

Pediatricians have reported a slight decline in RSV and influenza circulation in recent days.

“In contrast to the very large outbreak we saw last week and the week before Christmas, in the last three or four days we have seen a decline in influenza and RSV,” the president of the Panhellenic Federation of Self-Employed Pediatricians, Kostas Daloukas, said in comments to Kathimerini.

“This decline is an expected development given the number of children who became ill with these viruses in the previous period,” he added.

What’s more, according to epidemiologists, the strong upward trend of these viruses does not last more than six to seven weeks, meaning that it is likely that last week saw the peak for this year.

However, Daloukas said medical experts are waiting to see what happens next week when schools reopen after the holiday break. “In any case, parents are advised to be careful. Although masks are not required in schools, we recommend that they give their children a mask and advise them to wear it in the classroom, especially since they do not have air-purification systems,” he stressed, recommending that children who develop flu symptoms stay home until they recover.

In comments to Kathimerini, Athens University Emeritus Professor of Pediatrics and Endocrinology Giorgos Chrousos referred to a “triple epidemic,” with Covid-19, which does not seem to be as aggressive, influenza and RSV, which is the most common respiratory virus in premature babies, infants and toddlers.

In general, all children up to the age of two usually develop immunity to the virus, but this has not been the case during the pandemic due to restrictive measures and the use of masks. Because of the narrowing of the airways, it can cause major problems for children and lead to respiratory failure.

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