French Minister of Health Francois Braun has activated the national emergency response plan to help hospitals cope with soaring bronchiolitis infections among children.
“I decided this morning, in addition to everything else that had already been done, to trigger the ORSAN plan (the emergency plan in France to handle a sudden increase in the number of hospital patients) to tackle this epidemic,” he told the Senate on Wednesday.
Now each region will get additional resources to ease the strain on paediatric services, which have been overwhelmed by an influx of patients, Xinhua news agency.
According to the French Public Health Agency, the country hasn’t seen such a high number of bronchiolitis-related hospitalisations and visits to the emergency care wards for more than 10 years.
Among the 6,891 children under two years old sent to the emergency care wards, 6,326 or 92 per cent were under one year old, and 2,337 or 34 per cent were eventually hospitalized, the health agency said.
It also reported that the northern regions had been the most affected by the bronchiolitis epidemic.
The agency said it would continue monitoring the occurrence of bronchiolitis cases in children under the age of two.
Bronchiolitis is a common lung infection in young children and infants due to inflammation and congestion in small airways of the lungs causing coughs and difficulty breathing.