Bronchiolitis is a frequent lung infection in children under 2 years of age and infants. This disease can be caused by viruses of various kinds, but the most common is Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). In recent weeks, in Spain, the incidence of bronchiolitis has been increasing rapidly in children up to 12 months of age.
One in 56 healthy non-preterm babies who suffer from an infection by Respiratory Syncytial Virus ends up being admitted to the hospital, according to a study published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine. Normally, the virus affects children under one year of age and in the most serious cases, which end up being admitted to the ICU, are babies less than three months old. To this day, cases of bronchiolitis are stressing the ER in several communities. According to hospital sources, we are experiencing a pandemic situation that is expected to worsen. In fact, they are already thinking contingency plans for the coming months.
Federico Martinón-Torres, head of Pediatrics at the Hospital Clínico de Santiago, affirms that the impact of the virus is very high. “It’s a lot. Of all healthy newborns, in one year, 14% will need medical attention for RSV. In absolute numbers, that is a lot and it explains why the hospitals fill up”, points out Martinón-Torres.
Preventive alternatives against RSV
The infection manifests itself, in most cases, with fever, cough, runny nose and difficulty breathing. In contrast, in babies the virus can affect the bronchiole and, if it becomes inflamed, air cannot enter and causes difficulty in breathing, causing serious cases in minors. The serious problem with this disease is that there is no proper treatment to combat it. In this sense, hospitals and health institutions advise families to be careful with babies and children. From schools and nurseries they also appeal to families, insisting on not taking them to class if the minor is unwell. In this way, educators want to put measures in place to avoid contagion in the classroom.