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As the number of cases of respiratory virus in Canterbury surges, more infants get sick

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Surgery has been postponed at Christchurch Hospital due to a surge in the number of infants suffering from respiratory illness and increasing pressure on medical services.

Doctors say this is a partial result Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) – – a Common winter-spring virus in babies – last year has affected more babies this year COVID-19 blockade..

Vanessa Wienink, chair of the General Practitioners Council in Christchurch, said: New Zealand Medical Association.

“That’s why we have such problems this year. Older people aren’t immune and in some cases tell it to their younger siblings at home.”

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* Auckland Children’s Hospital bans siblings from visiting in the midst of a surge in respiratory viruses

According to Weelink, most children were infected with RSV before the age of two and were mildly ill, usually with cold-like symptoms.

However, the virus can cause respiratory problems. According to Wienink, babies can be particularly seriously affected because the narrow airways can make it difficult to breathe while breastfeeding.

“It can be very painful for parents.”

She said RSV usually peaked around August or September.

Dr. Ramon Pink, a medical officer at Canterbury Health, said that “the number of confirmed cases has skyrocketed” in the region, following a “very small number” of RSV in early winter.

At Christchurch Hospital, the number of infants with respiratory illness, including RSV, is increasing.

Alden Williams / Staff

At Christchurch Hospital, the number of infants with respiratory illness, including RSV, is increasing.

The North Island Center has reported an increase in the number of cases since late June, and the ward has more babies than usual.

RSV can, in some cases, cause bronchiolitis, an inflammation of the small airways in the lungs. It can also lead to pneumonia.

Philip Pattemore, an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Otago in Christchurch and a respiratory specialist, said he was seeing “a huge amount” of RSV cases.

“Last year there were few blockages, so there seems to be more rebounds.

“The number of children aged 1 to 3 who normally do not come to the hospital because they are not exposed during infancy is increasing.”

Vanessa Wienink, chair of the New Zealand Medical Association's General Practitioners Council at the Christchurch GP, said two winters of RSV could be seen simultaneously in the region.

John Kirk-Anderson / Staff

Vanessa Wienink, chair of the New Zealand Medical Association’s General Practitioners Council at the Christchurch GP, said two winters of RSV could be seen simultaneously in the region.

He said typical hospital treatments include the administration of oxygen.

Dr. Helen Skinner, Chief Medical Officer of the Canterbury District Health Commission, said there were 132 upper respiratory tract infections in the emergency department at Christchurch Hospital in June, some of which were RSVs. This was three times the number seen last June.

“Anecdotally, the number of children coming to the facility using RSV is increasing, but this has not led to an increase in ICU admission. [intensive care unit].. “

She said she didn’t need to open up extra space for cases of RSV.

“But I had to postpone four surgeries. [on Tuesday] The increasing number of pediatric patients in need of acute care is contributing to patients with upper respiratory tract infections such as RSV. “

According to Wienink, parents can get information by dialing Healthline at 0800 611116.

“If your child is sick and has difficulty breathing, you should actually see a doctor or an overtime clinic.”

Pink said the increase in RSV cases has not had a significant impact on the community and needs to be given additional advice to schools and kindergartens “at this stage”.

What is RSV?

  • Common respiratory illnesses caused by viruses
  • Usually mild and has cold-like symptoms
  • Can be severe in babies and vulnerable adults who may suffer from fever, severe cough, dyspnea
  • Parents are advised to call Healthline if they have any concerns 0800 611116.

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