The last few days have been marked by the "continuation of the increase in the monitoring indicators of bronchiolitis in children under two years of age", summarized in a weekly report the French public health agency.

No region has yet been hit by an epidemic as such, but several of them are now considered in a preliminary phase: Hauts-de-France, Île-de-France, New Aquitaine and Occitania.

Common and highly contagious, bronchiolitis causes babies to cough and have difficult, rapid, wheezy breathing.

Even if it is distressing for young parents, it is most of the time benign.

But it may require a trip to the emergency room, or even hospitalization.

A total of 1,491 children under two went to the emergency room for bronchiolitis in the week from September 26 to October 2, a sharp increase from the previous week.

Nearly 500 were eventually hospitalized.

These figures are similar to those observed last year at the same time, in a context marked by the end of the confinements linked to the start of the Covid epidemic.

But, more generally, the number of hospitalizations is higher than what is generally observed at the end of September and the beginning of October, which raises fears of an early epidemic.

In general, it starts at the end of October, reaches a peak at the end of December and then ends at the end of March.

© 2022 AFP