Number of new corona infections in children in Vienna on the rise

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Due to the increasing number of coronavirus infections, it is expected that more children with a severe course will have to be treated in hospital in Vienna.
Currently, 7,498 people in Vienna have contracted Covid-19, of which nine percent fall into the zero to nine age group, and 23 percent are between ten and 19 years old (as of Tuesday). Due to the rising numbers, it is expected that more children with a severe course will need hospital care.

Florian Götzinger, pediatrician and pediatric infectiologist at the Ottakring Clinic (formerly Wilhelminenspital), made it clear to the APA: “The delta variant is not expected to cause a more severe course of the disease for the individual child. But the math is simple: if you assume that about 0.1 percent of children with the disease have a more severe course, then if the incidence is higher, which we expect, there will ultimately be more children who will have a severe course.”

At the Ottakring Clinic – which is currently the first port of call for Covid-afflicted children and adolescents in Vienna in need of medical care – the situation is still calm for the time being. At the moment, there are six children there, four of them are under twelve years old, two are older than twelve. Partly they are children with pre-existing conditions, partly they have no pre-existing conditions, Elena Reghenzani, spokeswoman for the Vienna Health Association told APA. One child is in intensive care at the Donaustadt Clinic (formerly Donauspital).

Up to 25 intensive care beds available in Vienna for children
Should it become necessary, the city can provide up to 25 intensive care beds for children. “We don’t know if we will need them. But it’s better to be prepared than not to be prepared,” Mario Dujakovic, spokesman for City Health Councillor Peter Hacker (SPÖ), told APA.

Since the pandemic began in spring 2020, a total of 250 children and adolescents have been treated at the Ottakring clinic. Of these, however, some have also been admitted for social reasons, for example because their parents are seriously ill and no one else could care for them. In some cases Covid-19 also appeared as a “secondary diagnosis”. This is the case, for example, when a child breaks his or her leg, goes to the hospital, and there the Corona test is positive.

In principle, the course of Corona infection in children and adolescents tends to be mild. But not always: “Children without previous illnesses rarely have a severe course. The situation is different with severe previous illnesses. These children have a higher risk of a severe Covid 19 course,” Götzinger knows.

It looks different with a dangerous secondary disease: Mis-C disease can appear weeks after the corona infection. This is an exaggerated immune reaction that occurs very rarely, can take a life-threatening course and requires intensive medical care. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 15 patients have been treated at the Donaustadt Clinic, which specializes in this disease. Here, too, there could be an increase in the fall.

However, the health association is also preparing for the fact that the symptomatology could develop somewhat more in the direction of Kawasaki syndrome – data from Great Britain would indicate this. Kawasaki syndrome is also an exaggerated immune reaction after viral infections that occurs in children. This can lead to irreversible damage to the coronary vessels. The disease begins with sudden onset of fever, abdominal pain and nausea.

Long-Covid also possible in children and adolescents
Another problem is long-covid, which can also occur in children and adolescents with mild courses. These are also cared for at the Ottakring Clinic. The most common symptoms in young patients are taste and smell disorders, headache, feeling of weakness, difficulty concentrating and, very rarely, chronic cough.

Vienna is already preparing in terms of resources for an increasing number of young patients in the fall. “There are up to 25 intensive care beds available for children. We don’t know if we’ll need them. But it’s better to be prepared than not to be prepared,” Mario Dujakovic, spokesman for Health City Councilor Peter Hacker (SPÖ), told APA.

— sources: vienna.at/APA/picture: pixabay.com

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