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Nikhil Prasad  Fact checked by:Thailand Medical News Team Jan 04, 2024  1 month, 2 weeks, 6 days, 16 hours, 10 minutes ago

COVID-19 News: Italy In The Grip of a Dual Health Crisis-Pediatric Respiratory Infections Surge As COVID-19 And Influenza Overwhelm Emergency Rooms!

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COVID-19 News: Italy In The Grip of a Dual Health Crisis-Pediatric Respiratory Infections Surge As COVID-19 And Influenza Overwhelm Emergency Rooms!
Nikhil Prasad  Fact checked by:Thailand Medical News Team Jan 04, 2024  1 month, 2 weeks, 6 days, 16 hours, 10 minutes ago
COVID-19 News: Italy is currently facing a dire health crisis as emergency rooms buckle under the strain of a simultaneous surge in pediatric respiratory infections, primarily bronchiolitis, and the ongoing battle against COVID-19 and influenza. The situation is particularly alarming for children under the age of 5, with hospitals across the nation struggling to cope with the influx of patients. The Italian Society of Pediatrics (Sip) warns of critical conditions, attributing the surge to the loss of infection control mechanisms during the holiday season, where large gatherings in enclosed spaces facilitated the rapid transmission of viruses.

Pediatric Respiratory Infections
According to Dr Rino Agostiniani, the vice president of Sip, influenza and the respiratory syncytial virus, responsible for bronchiolitis, are wreaking havoc among children. Pediatric departments and emergency rooms, from North to South of Italy, in large and medium-sized hospitals, are overwhelmed. The rise in cases is particularly evident in children under 5 years old, with the syncytial virus surging, leading to increased hospitalizations. Dr Agostiniani emphasizes that the situation is critical for children under 6 months, especially those with older siblings attending nurseries, contributing to the spread of infections at home.
Italian Hospitals on the Brink
According to local COVID-19 News coverages, the dire situation extends to Italian hospitals, where over 1,100 patients are awaiting admission in Rome alone.
Ambulances queued outside hospitals, and in regions like Lombardy, patients are crammed into waiting rooms due to the shortage of beds. In Turin, overcrowding has even led to a lack of stretchers. Simeu president Fabio de Laco acknowledges the extremely difficult situation, citing a surge in respiratory diseases, particularly among the elderly, as the primary cause of the collapse.
Hospital Collapse Causes
The surge in hospital admissions, straining the Italian health system, is attributed to an increase in respiratory diseases, not only from COVID-19 but also from a record-breaking influenza epidemic. The influenza curve showed an unprecedented incidence value in the week before Christmas, leading to a situation far from stabilizing. Regions have activated plans to combat overcrowding, but the chronic scarcity of hospital beds necessitates reallocating beds from other specialties, exacerbating the problem.
Healthcare Worker Fatigue
As the crisis deepens, healthcare workers in Italy are exhausted, with reports suggesting that many have not had a break over the Christmas and New Year period. The president of Simeu highlights the luxury of holidays as doctors continue to work without interruption. The overburdened healthcare system is now grappling with blocked ambulances, postponed operations, and emergency rooms filled with patients. The delayed vaccination campaign is also criticized as a contributing factor.
Record Surge in Influenza and COVID-19 Cases in Rome
Family doctors in Rome report a record surge in influenza and COVID-19 cases, with visits doubling in recent days. The combination of COVID-19, influenza, and intestinal symptoms has overwhelmed healthcare facilities. The peak is anticipated in early January, coinciding with the reopening of schools. The emergency rooms in Rome are also struggling under the load of arrivals, creating an unprecedented volume of activity for medical professionals.
15-Year High Flu Surge Threatens Healthcare System
The Italian Health Institute warns that the large influx of patients, primarily from influenza, could burden healthcare services for an extended period. The regions most heavily impacted include Lombardy, Venice, Emilia-Romagna, and Campania. The surge in emergency calls and hospital admissions, attributed to both influenza and hard-to-treat cases of mutated coronavirus strains, has increased by over 30 percent compared to pre-pandemic levels.
Italy finds itself in the midst of a dual health crisis, grappling with a surge in pediatric respiratory infections and the ongoing challenges posed by COVID-19 and influenza. The strain on emergency rooms and hospitals is pushing the healthcare system to its limits, with healthcare workers facing exhaustion. Urgent measures, including vaccination campaigns and resource allocation strategies, are imperative to navigate these challenging times and safeguard public health.
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