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Italy - Many hospitals are experiencing saturation of their emergency services due to a severe flu epidemic

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  • Italy - Many hospitals are experiencing saturation of their emergency services due to a severe flu epidemic

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    An “extremely difficult situation”: saturated emergencies, record infections... what is this strange flu that is hitting Italy?

    Health , France - World , International
    Published on01/08/2024 at 09:23
    Robin Serradeil

    The essential In Italy, many hospitals are experiencing saturation of their emergency services. The cause is a particularly severe flu epidemic, probably caused by a new variant. Covid-19 is also no stranger to the health situation on site.

    But what is happening on the other side of the Alps? Italian hospitals are currently facing a situation that is worrying to say the least as cases of respiratory disease infections are exploding, “especially among the elderly”. If Covid-19 has its share of responsibility in the complex health situation observed in Italy, the health authorities also mention "other viruses" which would have "caused 'overcrowding' in hospitals and very strong pressure on health services. 'emergency', in the words of Fabio de Laco, president of the Italian Society of Emergency Medicine and Emergency Care (Simeu).

    “The influenza epidemic curve showed an incidence value never reached during previous seasons,” continues the latest epidemiological bulletin from the Higher Institute of Health. On the web, Eric Feigl-Ding, epidemiologist, evokes “something very strange” which “is happening in Italy”. However, there is no question of talking about a "new or emerging virus" according to epidemiologist Antoine Flahault: "The flu is due to expected seasonal strains" affirms the scientist to our colleagues at the media Atlantico . By this, mean that it could possibly be a “variant” of the flu.

    The epidemiologist also mentions the conjunction of this seasonal flu with the “wave of Covid due to the JN.1 variant of Omicron which is hitting many countries around the world”. This is the case for example in the United States, where patient admissions to hospital due to Covid-19 are reaching the highest levels since the first wave of Omicron variant contaminations two years ago.

    Saturated healthcare services

    Results: in Italy, healthcare services are saturated. According to Italian health authorities, the country's hospital emergency departments are in chaos and on the verge of collapse: in the Rome region, more than 1,100 patients are waiting to be admitted to care. In Lombardy, there are reports of patients crowded into waiting rooms: in Milan, normal hospital admissions were suspended to free up beds.

    “Several regions have activated plans to combat overcrowding in hospitals and health facilities in order to find additional beds, but since hospital beds are chronically scarce, in practice there is nothing else to do than take away beds from other specialties, such as surgery, continues Fabio de Laco. Of course, this does not solve the problem"

    En Italie, de nombreux établissements hospitaliers accusent une saturation de leurs services d'urgence. En cause , une épidémie de grippe particulièrement sévère, vraisemblablement porté par un nouveau variant. Le...
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