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Parainfluenza and Respiratory Syncytial Virus in Canada

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  • Parainfluenza and Respiratory Syncytial Virus in Canada

    From the Montreal Gazette:

    Children?s hospitals can?t keep up with flu-like cases
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    Font: * * * * Charlie Fidelman, Montreal Gazette
    Published: Friday, December 01, 2006
    Montreal Children?s and Ste. Justine hospitals are getting record numbers of children ? up to 300 a day ? with flu-like symptoms leading to bloated ERs that can?t keep up, officials warned Friday.

    An influx of daily patients during the past two weeks has taxed resources to the limit at both hospitals, officials said.

    Expect 15-hour delays for non-emergencies, said pediatrician Dominic Chalut, head of medical emergency at the Children''s. A similar overflow is causing a 15-hour delay at Ste. Justine.

    Doctors urged parents to stay calm and ?don?t become verbally abusive.

    ?If your child is having breathing difficulties or seizures, you will not wait,? Chalut said.

    Emergency room officials are asking parents to call Info-Sant? CLSC for the nearest available clinic rather than just showing up at ER.

    ?We?re hoping the (number of cases) will go down. The system is stretched to the limit,? Chalut said.

    An unusual peak in winter colds has driven admissions to the intensive care unit up by 50 per cent and into the general ward by 15 per cent, Chalut said.

    Fortunately, it?s not the seasonal influenza making an early appearance half-way through the vaccine campaign, physicians said.

    These illnesses are being caused by other viruses that circulate during winter ? parainfluenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). ?We usually see a peak in winter but not that early,? Chalut said. ?These are the numbers we usually see during the holidays.?

    Bronchialitis and pneumonia in older, normally healthy children is not dangerous when symptoms are mild. Symptoms can range from mild to severe including fever, stuffy running noses, coughing, breathing difficulties and wheezing.

    Ill babies under three months of age are in danger of dehydrating because they cannot feed properly, Chalut warned.

    Several infants, including premature babies and those suffering from recurrent asthma, are currently under observation at Ste. Justine, added Dr. Marc Girard, chief of pediatrics at Ste. Justine.

    ?Inflammation of the upper respiratory tract can be quite serious,? Girard said.

    The flu vaccine isn?t effective in stopping the common cold or infections from RSV, which has a much longer season than the flu, he noted.

    ?Sometimes kids get both and that can very serious. Anyone with breathing difficulties will be seen immediately,? Girard said.

    But there?s no remedy other time, plus lots of fluids, extra bed rest and Tylenol when fever strikes, Girard added.

    Chalut and others dismissed the notion that longer wait times in emergency may be linked to pressure tactics by the specialists, who are entangled in a labour dispute with the province.

    ?It?s not related to any tactics but to the influx of patients and families coming in to see us,? Chalut said.

    There are no influenza cases in Quebec yet, Dr. Terry Tannenbaum of the Montreal public health department, confirmed Friday.

  • #2
    Re: Parainfluenza and Respiratory Syncytial Virus in Canada


    Ending november 25.

    Percent positive influenza tests, compared to other respiratory viruses, Canada, by reporting week, 2006-2007