Bed occupancy at the Makarios Hospital is currently over 90% with mainly children with respiratory infections currently being treated there, the Director of the hospital’s Pediatrics Department, Dr. Avraam Elia, told CNA on Wednesday, pointing out that this year, an increase has been recorded in respiratory infections compared to last year.

According to Elia, daily admissions vary from six to eight, perhaps more, while at the same time there are just as many discharges.

“They are mainly children who suffer from a respiratory infection”, he said, adding that seven in 10 children admitted to hospital during this period have respiratory infections with the predominant infection being the RSV virus, “which causes acute bronchiolitis in infants.” For this reason, he added, more than half of the children being hospitalised are infants, children under the age of 12 months.

The second most common infection, he said, was lower respiratory infections, bacterial pneumonia or viral pneumonia. Dr. Elia noted that they were now treating also children with upper respiratory infections and that most infants under 12 months were being treated for acute bronchiolitis.

He explained that acute bronchiolitis was the main cause of admissions of children to the pediatric wards in the winter months as the peak was usually observed in January and February.

Therefore, he added, this was not the peak, noting a decrease was expected this period because schools are closed for the Christmas holidays, while a rise was expected when schools reopen.

“It happens every year”, he said, adding that, an increase has been recorded this year compared to 2022, but that the situation was “manageable”.

Usually, he said, the symptoms are persistent fever, cough, difficulty in breathing, while children may also have a runny nose, lack of apetite and sometimes gastrointestinal disorders.

Dr. Elia also said that they see an increase in newborns and infants under two months old, noting that this was a special age group because of the immaturity of their immune systems.

He urged parents who have children in this age group to be careful and keep the babies from coming into contact with other people, especially older siblings who carry and transmit these pathogens to younger children.

Regarding cases of coronavirus, Dr. Elia said that four children were currently in hospital, noting that, although in recent weeks they had sporadic admissions of coronavirus cases, there has been a small increase in admissions recently which reflects the increase of cases among the general population.

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