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Germany: Dramatic Situation at Children’s Hospitals due to RSV Infections

Because the Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is spreading, more and more children’s hospitals in Germany are overburdened. Health Minister Karl Lauterbach announced measures that are supposed to improve the situation.

Berlin, December 2nd, 2022 (The Berlin Spectator) — In Germany, the number of children infected with viruses, including the Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), is on the rise. Many of them need to be treated at hospitals. Because of the rapidly rising number of severe cases, the country is running out of ICU beds for children. According to Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, less than 100 of them a vacant right now.

Full Attention

Because of the situation, Professor Lauterbach announced a measure that is supposed to help. He said nurses from hospital wards for adults would now work in children’s wards. Germany’s federal states are in charge of the hospitals. They are supposed to become active accordingly. “The children now need our full attention”, Karl Lauterbach stated. The latest reports about overcrowded pediatrician’s offices and children’s hospitals were alarming.

The RSV wave was not over, the Minister said. But, with the measures that were now being planned, the situation was under control. As it turns out, the closure of kindergartens during the first part of the Corona pandemic might have caused this situation. Many children had come in contact with the RS virus for the first time, Karl Lauterbach explained. They did not have the opportunity to develop antibodies earlier because they were protected from the Coronavirus.

Newborns and Toddlers

Adults get infected with RSV too, but newborns and toddlers are affected more. Because of the ongoing RSV wave, Lauterbach asked parents to postpone their children’s medical checkups in order give pediatricians more time to deal with RSV infections. He also stated adults would infect children in many cases. Therefore parents needed to wear masks as soon as they felt cold symptoms.

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In Berlin and neighboring Brandenburg, the situation is serious. Markus Mall, the Director of Pediatrics at Berlin’s Charité, hospital told the RBB radio and TV network, the waiting times at the admission were increasing. Some affected children in Berlin had already been sent to clinics in Brandenburg. The Charité would soon publish information about the remaining capacities.

Crowded for Weeks

Mall also stated his hospital’s wards had been crowded for weeks, including the intensive care units. Surgeries needed to be postponed more and more. Moving patients to other hospitals was difficult in this situation. Experts are expecting the RSV cases to increase further. Since the Corona pandemic commenced in early 2020, the German health system came close to be overwhelmed more than once.

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