Flu, RSV numbers down at Children’s Hospital
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Respiratory viruses are no longer causing a surge of hospitalizations among children in Manitoba after a prolonged and severe flu season.
Although a high number of children are still receiving intensive care, fewer are being admitted to hospital because of influenza or respiratory syncyctial virus (RSV).
January brought a significant drop in patient volumes to the children’s emergency department at Health Sciences Centre Children’s Hospital, recent figures from Shared Health show.
There was an average of 116.2 patients per day at the children’s ER in January, down from daily averages of 170.3 in November and 130.1 in December, a spokesperson for Shared Health said Wednesday.
There are nine beds in the pediatric ICU at baseline capacity, but there were 12 children being treated in the unit as of midnight Wednesday, and two other children were in the pediatric specialty care unit. There were 41 patients in the neonatal ICU.
Flu symptoms were being blamed for about half of children’s ER visits earlier this winter, but that’s no longer the case. About 22 per cent of patients who showed up at the ER on Tuesday had flu-like symptoms — 26 out of 116 patients.
RSV cases also appear to be trending downward, Shared Health said.
“There were 12 infants and toddlers admitted for RSV-related illnesses for the week ending Jan. 27. Three were admitted to intensive care. Since the new year, there have been 61 RSV-related admissions, of whom nine required ICU admissions,” Shared Health said in a statement.
Last week’s provincial epidemiology report on respiratory virus circulation in Manitoba also noted a decline in flu and RSV cases. Across Canada, flu cases are back to low levels typically seen in spring and summer, the Public Health Agency of Canada’s weekly national Flu Watch report states. The national average test positivity rate for influenza was 1.5 per cent the week of Jan. 15 to 21.
Katie May is a general-assignment reporter for the Free Press.