Home » Dutch hospitals are filling up with children with pneumonia, and (some) hospitals are also noticing an increase

Dutch hospitals are filling up with children with pneumonia, and (some) hospitals are also noticing an increase

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In the Netherlands there has been a noticeable increase in pneumonia among 5 to 14 year olds, resulting in many hospital beds being occupied. Many children in our country are also ill and (some) Flemish hospitals also notice this.

Tuesday, December 5, 2023 at 4:21 PM

In our northern neighbors, hospital beds are filling up due to an increase in the number of pneumonias in children, even causing treatments to be postponed. Many young children in our country also suffer from lung problems due to the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which is currently in full expansion. In young people, Mycoplasma, a bacterium that can lead to pneumonia, is the main culprit.

We do not yet have a situation like in the Netherlands. But some hospitals have noticed an increase. “It is typical for this period, but it is striking. Our department is full and it sometimes happens that we send eight patients home, but then admit eight new patients half a day later,” says Kate Sauer, Head of the Pediatrics department at AZ Sint-Jan Brugge.

They also notice an increase at the Antwerp Hospital Network. “There are currently 35 children admitted with lung problems, a quarter of the beds are still available,” says spokesperson Tom Van de Vreken.

“It sometimes happens that we send eight patients home, but then admit eight new patients half a day later”

Kate Sauer

Head of the pediatrics department AZ Sint-Jan Brugge

Region specific

But not everywhere there has been a noticeable increase. “There are children sick, but the situation is not abnormal for us,” says the UZ Brussels. They also do not see exceptionally high occupancy in the pediatrics department at the UZ Leuven and the ZOL in Genk.

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According to virologist Marc Van Ranst, these regional differences are normal: “We see this more often, that there is an increase on one side of the country and nothing at all is happening on the other side.” But the virologist is not afraid of a shortage of beds. “There are 2,500 recognized pediatric beds, which should certainly be sufficient. Especially because we do something fundamentally different from the Netherlands: we vaccinate for the Rota virus. They don’t do that in the Netherlands, which puts extra pressure on the pediatrics department.” This virus mainly occurs in young children and causes diarrhea and vomiting.

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