Already two dead – extreme flu wave claims the children’s outpatient clinics


A wave of infection is currently rolling over Upper Austria and has already claimed two young flu victims. Hospitals have hardly any free capacity. Doctors advocate protection through vaccination.

“The frequency and severity of the courses in children is not common. We are dealing with a concentrated wave of infections in the children’s area. First it was corona, then the RS virus and now flu,” says senior physician Ariane Biebl of the Kepler University Clinic for Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine in Linz. However, the doctor is particularly affected by two deaths in children related to the current flu wave.

Deaths around Christmas
“We have already had to treat five children in our intensive care unit this season. They were between the ages of two and 16, but babies can get sick, too,” says Biebl. Unfortunately, around Christmas time, two of them lost the battle to survive in intensive care. One victim was barely three years old, the second between ten and twelve years old. Two children have since been transferred to the regular ward.

Child dependent on heart-lung machine
Another young patient suffered from heart muscle inflammation and is currently still on a heart-lung machine. In this case, however, the practitioners are cautiously optimistic: possible long-term consequences for the child are not yet foreseeable. “After almost no contact with the flu virus for the past two years, we expected an increase. But this year is really a particularly strong flu season with many serious cures, “explains the senior doctor.

And the other hospitals in Upper Austria are also struggling with the wave of infections. In the Ordensklinikum in Linz, the infection stations are full of RS and flu patients. And in Wels, two small patients are currently being treated with the RS virus, there are currently no flu patients there. December, on the other hand, was fully utilized. The serious cases end up in the pediatric intensive care unit of the KUK in Linz.

Barely half of the vaccine doses have been recovered
As the flu wave was expected this year, the state of Upper Austria alone bought about 75,000 additional vaccine doses, including 38,240 for children, which are administered as a nasal spray. Doctors advocate vaccination from six months of age. But only about 18,000 of these children’s vaccinations were called for, and of the 9,600 infant doses, two-thirds are still available.

The vaccination contribution for paediatricians was increased from 10.75 to 15 euros, so that they have more incentives to push through the measure. Now the flu wave is slowly ebbing away: in Upper Austria, 885 employees were sick with flu the week before, two weeks earlier that number was almost twice as many. “Nevertheless, to protect children and older or previously ill people, people who have not yet been vaccinated should take the flu shot,” calls health officer and LH Vice Christine Haberlander.

Source: Krone


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