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Covid-19 Australia: ‘Pandemic babies’ with no immunity to viruses ending up in ICU

A worrying number of ‘pandemic babies’ without immunity to respiratory viruses end up seriously ill in the ICU.

Doctors have revealed that children born during the Covid-19 pandemic need intensive care “because they encounter viruses they have not encountered before,” such as the flu, RSV and Covid.

The children had been born and raised when virtually no other viruses were circulating in Australia except Covid-19.

The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, pediatric infectious disease specialist, Dr. Philip Britton, said an analysis of ICU admissions shows that babies test positive for flu and Covid at the same time.

“In the past month we have seen four times as many hospitalizations for childhood flu as for Covid,” Dr Britton told The Daily Telegraph.

Infectious diseases pediatrician Dr.  Philip Britton said analysis of ICU admissions shows babies testing positive for flu and Covid at the same time

Infectious diseases pediatrician Dr. Philip Britton said analysis of ICU admissions shows babies testing positive for flu and Covid at the same time

dr. Britton said five percent of co-infected children were admitted to ICU, a statistic he described as “very concerning.”

About half of the children had no pre-existing health problems, and the high number of admissions put a strain on the hospital system.

Some of the ‘pandemic babies’ show inflammation of the chest, brain and heart caused by the flu, Covid and RSV.

RSV – respiratory syncytial virus – is a leading cause of lung infections in children and can lead to pneumonia or bronchiolitis, which is especially dangerous in young infants.

Severe cases can kill infants and toddlers whose small airways have not yet fully formed and who have difficulty dealing with the infection.

“Among that group that was previously healthy… It’s not just a chest infection, some of these kids can get the flu that affects the heart and brain,” Dr. Britton to The Daily Telegraph.

Some of the 'pandemic babies' show inflammation of the chest, brain and heart caused by the flu, Covid and RSV.

Some of the ‘pandemic babies’ show inflammation of the chest, brain and heart caused by the flu, Covid and RSV.

Three weeks ago there was a warning about RSV when there were only 355 cases a week in NSW, but three weeks later that rose to 3,775 in a week.

About a fifth of those developed the potentially fatal bronchiolitis, 40 percent of which ended up in the hospital.

Infectious disease researcher Dr John-Sebastian Eden said the triple blow of RSV, flu and Covid was packing the emergency department at Westmead Children’s Hospital in Sydney.

“There is a widespread three-way outbreak underway,” he told the Daily Mail Australia.

With the opening of international borders, the flu has returned and new strains of RSV have emerged.

“With Covid on top of it, these are three main viruses that will lead to hospitalization.”

Potentially deadly respiratory syncytial virus that attacks children and lacks vaccine has exploded in NSW with cases increasing tenfold in just three weeks

Potentially deadly respiratory syncytial virus that attacks children and lacks vaccine has exploded in NSW with cases increasing tenfold in just three weeks

During Covid, RSV continued to spread and split into two separate tribes in the east and west of the country in the wake of Western Australia’s prolonged isolation.

Researchers were shocked by the sudden rise of the disease in the first year of lockdowns, fueled by the keeping of daycare centers open despite Covid restrictions.

Infectious disease researcher Dr.  John-Sebastian Eden said the triple blow of RSV, flu and Covid was packing the emergency department at Westmead Children's Hospital in Sydney

Infectious disease researcher Dr. John-Sebastian Eden said the triple blow of RSV, flu and Covid was packing the emergency department at Westmead Children’s Hospital in Sydney

“It was something we’d never seen before,” said Dr. Eden. Even in lockdown, we worked hard to keep childcare open.

“You only need a small amount of virus to build a transmission chain.”

The disease went away in 2021, but has now bounced back with the current outbreak.

dr. Eden believes cases in NSW have not yet reached their peak, but is now preparing for the outbreak to spread across the country.

He expects the disease to spread at a similar level across the southern half of the country in the coming weeks.

“What happens is where you have an outbreak in NSW and we have all these people traveling from there to other states, it then feeds outbreaks in other parts,” he said.

The disease went away in 2021, but has now bounced back with the current outbreak.

dr. Eden believes cases in NSW have not yet reached their peak, but is now preparing for the outbreak to spread across the country.

He expects the disease to spread at a similar level across the southern half of the country in the coming weeks.

“What happens is where you have an outbreak in NSW and we have all these people traveling from there to other states, it then feeds outbreaks in other parts,” he said.

THIS IS WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT RSV

RSV is normally a winter illness, but Covid lockdowns saw an unexpected huge increase in summer cases last year.

Symptoms include a runny nose, cough, decreased diet and fever. Complications include wheezing and difficulty breathing, which can progress to pneumonia.

RSV - respiratory syncytial virus - is a leading cause of lung infections in children and can lead to pneumonia or bronchiolitis, which is especially dangerous in young infants.

RSV – respiratory syncytial virus – is a leading cause of lung infections in children and can lead to pneumonia or bronchiolitis, which is especially dangerous in young infants.

Like Covid, it can be transmitted through sneezing and coughing, but unlike Covid, it mainly affects young children.

“Most children will recover without specialist care in hospital, and children with a mild infection can be treated with rest at home,” pediatrician Daniel Yeoh wrote in a statement. The conversation

‘It is the leading cause of lung infections in children and often causes bronchiolitis.

‘Severe cases occasionally lead to death, mainly in very young infants.

Nearly all children have had an RSV infection by age two, but infants in their first year of life are more likely to have serious infections requiring hospitalization because their airways are smaller. Babies also have not built up immunity to RSV from previous years.

dr. Yeoh adds: ‘Treatment for RSV aims to help children breathe (eg giving oxygen) and feeding (eg giving fluids through an IV)’.

There is no vaccine for RSV, but several are in development.

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