“The peak infection season is usually in December. Compared to the same period last year, the number of infections is already twice as high,” says pediatrician Lisi de Ridder, president of the Dutch Pediatric Society (NVK).
Both pediatric wards and pediatric intensive care units are overwhelmed. Planned interventions have already been canceled to make way. Children are also transferred to other hospitals due to lack of beds. Sometimes even to another county. “It’s still a work in progress, but it’s a lot of pressure. All hands on deck.” There are no transfers abroad yet.
On the website of Revm A graph showing how the RS virus behaves annually. The early increase in the number of RS cases is clearly visible.
RS virus is common in the Netherlands, usually in the winter months. Almost all children under the age of two are exposed to the virus at some point.
Fever and shortness of breath
The most common complaints are runny nose and cough. But the virus can also cause fever, shortness of breath, or even pneumonia. A small percentage of young children require hospitalization. Every year, about 150 to 200 children end up in intensive care due to the virus.
Last summer, the European medicines regulator EMA issued a positive recommendation for the use of a vaccine against the RS virus for pregnant women. The vaccine then provides protection to newborns for up to six months after birth. The Board of Health will consider this matter early next year. Early pregnant women can only be vaccinated if the government adopts this advice.
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