Outbreak of pneumonia among children: the increase continues, the authorities call for “vigilance”

There “outbreak” continues. Nearly 900 SOS Médecins consultations and 2,500 visits to the emergency room for pneumonia were recorded among those under 15 last week, compared to 700 and 2,150 the previous week, according to the new public health bulletin France published this Wednesday, November 29. This now represents, respectively, 2.3% and 2.6% of total activity.

Such values ​​have not been seen for at least ten years. The curves also continue to climb among adults, but without reaching such unusual levels for this time of year.

This increase in pneumonia (or pneumonia) is largely linked to the return of the Mycoplasma pneumoniae bacteria. This had very little circulation at the height of the epidemic. Covid-19, when we were confined and then we wore the mask. Unlike many other pathogens (influenza viruses, respiratory syncytial virus, etc.), it did not make a comeback last year but… in recent months.

A viral origin still possible

“There has been a simmer in its circulation since the summer, and this has clearly accelerated over the past two months,” Cécile Bébéar, professor of medical microbiology and director of the Bordeaux bacteriology laboratory, the reference center, described to us last Friday. .

THE Ministry of Health also mentions this Wednesday morning an “unusual increase in cases of respiratory infections with Mycoplasma pneumoniae, including requiring hospitalization in adults and children in France”.

Fortunately, “the vast majority of infections are moderate and it will not be as dramatic as RSV (the respiratory syncytial virus, which causes bronchiolitis in particular) », added Cécile Bébéar. Certain antibiotics, notably macrolides (including azithromycin) are believed to be effective against Mycoplasma pneumoniae. “We have six months of stock,” wanted to reure the Minister of Health, Aurélien Rousseau, this Wednesday morning on France Info.

The fact remains that if demand explodes, the tablets could be less easily accessible throughout France. The Ministry of Health calls on health professionals to be “vigilant” and asks, moreover, not to neglect, “first and foremost”, a viral origin in the event of pneumonia in a child or adult. In this case, no antibiotic is effective.

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