Doctors in Norway are already seeing more children in hospitals with respiratory diseases than is typically common for this time of year and are bracing themselves for even more throughout the autumn and winter.
“The influx of children with respiratory infections is somewhat greater now in early autumn than it usually is,” Per Kristian Knudsen, the chief doctor in the paediatric ward at Oslo University Hospital Ullevål, told public broadcaster NRK.
Hospitals have seen a recent rise in children coming in with respiratory illnesses and expect the trend to continue because coronavirus measures aimed at limiting the spread of infection have had the knock-on effect of limiting the spread of colds, flu, and respiratory diseases.
This has led to lower immunity in the population, especially among young children.
“This applies especially to young children, where they may not have encountered any respiratory illnesses at all. As a result, they will lack immunity,” Trine Hessevik Paulsen, a Norwegian Institute of Public Health doctor, explained to the broadcaster.
Hessvik Paulsen pointed to large outbreaks of RS (respiratory syncytial virus) in Sweden and Denmark.
“In some countries, there have been quite large outbreaks of RS virus which can cause serious respiratory disease in the youngest children,” Hessvik Paulsen said.
Senior children’s doctor Knudsen has said that the hospital Oslo University Hospital, Ullevål was preparing for a surge in patients this winter.
“More children than usual could be infected, and we are prepared for a large influx of patients with these different respiratory viruses,” he said.