Covid-19 Australia: ‘Pandemic babies’ with no immunity to viruses end up in intensive care

A disturbing number of “pandemic babies” without immunity to respiratory viruses are ending up seriously ill in intensive care.

Doctors have revealed that children born during the Covid-19 pandemic require intensive care “for having encountered viruses they have never encountered before”, such as influenza, RSV and Covid.

The children were born and raised when there were virtually no other viruses circulating in Australia, other than Covid-19.

Westmead Children’s Hospital infectious disease pediatrician Dr Philip Britton said an analysis of intensive care admissions shows babies are testing positive for flu and Covid at the same time.

“Over the last month or so we have seen four times as many hospital admissions for flu in children than for Covid,” Dr Britton told The Daily Telegraph.

Infectious disease pediatrician Dr Philip Britton said an analysis of intensive care admissions across the shows shows babies are testing positive for flu and Covid at the same time

Dr Britton said 5% of children with co-infections were admitted to intensive care, a statistic he called “very concerning”.

About half of the children had no pre-existing health conditions, with the high number of admissions putting pressure on the hospital system.

Some of the “pandemic babies” show inflammation of the chest, brain and heart caused by influenza, Covid and RSV.

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

Severe cases can kill babies and toddlers, whose tiny airways are not yet fully formed and who struggle to cope with the infection.

“Among this group who were doing well before… It’s not just a lung infection, some of these children may be affected by influenza affecting the heart and brain,” Dr Britton told The Daily Telegraph.

Some of the “pandemic babies” show inflammation of the chest, brain and heart caused by influenza, Covid and RSV.

Some of the “pandemic babies” show inflammation of the chest, brain and heart caused by influenza, Covid and RSV.

A warning was issued about RSV three weeks ago when there were just 355 cases a week in NSW, but three weeks later that figure soared to 3,775 within a week .

About a fifth of them developed life-threatening bronchiolitis, 40% of which ended up in hospital.

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

“There is a generalized three-way epidemic,” he told Daily Mail Australia.

The opening of international borders has seen influenza return and new strains of RSV.

“With Covid superimposed, there are three main viruses that will lead to hospitalization.”

The potentially deadly respiratory syncytial virus that attacks children and has no vaccine has exploded in New South Wales, with cases rising tenfold in just three weeks

The potentially deadly respiratory syncytial virus that attacks children and has no vaccine has exploded in New South Wales, with cases rising tenfold in just three weeks

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

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

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

“It was something we had never seen before,” Dr Eden said. “Even during the lockdown there was a lot of effort to keep childcare open.

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

The disease subsided in 2021, but has now rebounded with the current outbreak.

Dr Eden believes cases in NSW have yet to peak, but is now preparing for the outbreak to spread nationwide.

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

“What’s happening is where you have an outbreak in NSW and we have all these people traveling to other states from there, that then fuels outbreaks in other areas” , did he declare.

The disease subsided in 2021, but has now rebounded with the current outbreak.

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT VRS

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

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

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

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

Like Covid, it can be transmitted by sneezing and coughing, but unlike Covid, young children are particularly affected.

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

“It is the main cause of lung infections in children, usually causing bronchiolitis.

“Severe cases sometimes lead to death, mainly in very young infants.

Almost all children have had an RSV infection before the age of two, but infants in their first year of life are more likely to have serious infections that require hospitalization because their airways are smaller. . Babies also did not develop immunity to RSV from previous years.

Dr Yeoh added: “The treatment of RSV aims to help children breathe (eg give them oxygen) and feed (eg give fluids by drip).”

There is no vaccine against RSV but several are in development.

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