Bavaria: pediatric practices and clinics full of sick children

Coughs, sneezes and sniffles everywhere in the day-care centers and elementary schools in the Free State.

Bavaria: pediatric practices and clinics full of sick children

Coughs, sneezes and sniffles everywhere in the day-care centers and elementary schools in the Free State. A rapid wave of infection is spreading among the offspring, which is also bringing pediatricians to the edge of their capacities. Even the clinics are full - with consequences.

Passau/Regensburg (dpa/lby) - In Bavaria, an extremely large number of children are currently suffering from severe respiratory infections - the clinics are already jam-packed. The young patients have mostly been infected with the RS virus, which can be particularly dangerous for infants and small children. Influenza and pneumonia are also common. Doctors expect the wave of infections to continue for several weeks - but the capacities in the clinics are already exhausted. The hospitals have therefore already pulled the emergency plans from the Corona period out of the drawers.

"We are at the breaking point. The rooms are often double occupied, there are sometimes no monitors to be able to monitor the children, because we only have one monitor per bed - if at all - available. And some are also available for respiratory support too few devices available," said Matthias Keller, head of the Children's Hospital Third Order in Passau and chairman of the Southern German Society for Child and Adolescent Medicine, the German Press Agency.

"There are currently a lot of sick children, and they are also more seriously ill," said Keller. "And we have regions in Bavaria where we are already sewn to the brim in the normal state." The result: "Some patient rooms are like beds, you really have to crawl over the beds to get to the sick child, because the parents' bed is next to the patient's bed."

The doctors see one of the main reasons for the current wave in the corona measures. Normally, 90 percent of all children are infected with the RS virus in the first two years of life. "That didn't happen, then the antibodies are missing, which is why we now have this pronounced wave," explained Keller. A first study also indicates that the nest protection of infants is less effective because the mothers have fewer antibodies in their breast milk due to a lack of confrontation with the virus.

"The pandemic has shifted the waves of infection over the year, which normally occur at a certain rhythm, so that we have had a continuous wave of infections for a year," Dominik Ewald, chairman of the local professional association of paediatricians, listed another factor. Nursery and kindergarten children, like elementary school students, are exposed to constant stress from infections, which never really allows the immune system to rest. The same applies to the medical staff, who have been thinned out accordingly.

Because many clinics in Bavaria are so full, the resident pediatricians, who are also busy, are now reluctant to send seriously ill patients to the hospitals. "We try to instruct as little as possible because we know that otherwise the children will be transported to more distant clinics," said Ewald. Recently, for example, there were regular transports from Munich to Passau, 170 kilometers away - when the right vehicle finally arrived after a waiting period of up to twelve hours.

Such a wave of infection usually lasts six to eight weeks, explained Keller. "The situation will remain tense until then." In case of doubt, various measures would have to be activated, such as those used in the adult sector during the corona pandemic. This not only includes moving to distant clinics, but also recruiting staff and equipment from adult wards. The first clinics in Bavaria have already started postponing unnecessary operations.