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HomeCosta RicaCosta Rica Battles Rising Tide of Respiratory Illnesses in Children

Costa Rica Battles Rising Tide of Respiratory Illnesses in Children

Costa Rican health authorities have issued another warning regarding the surge in respiratory illnesses among children, leading to a staggering 134 percent occupancy rate in the National Children’s Hospital.

The pediatric center has been dealing with a persistent surge in cases caused by various viral agents, with the respiratory syncytial virus and human rhinovirus taking the lead, as explained by Carlos Jiménez, the acting general director of the National Children’s Hospital.

Unfortunately, over the course of the last month, there has been a relentless increase in respiratory illnesses, and the situation has intensified even further in the previous week.

As informed by health specialists, this has put tremendous strain on healthcare resources, as the occupancy rate is very high.

Carlos Jiménez explained that 95 children are currently admitted for acute respiratory illnesses. Five of them are being treated for Covid-19 and ninety are battling other viruses such as respiratory syncytial virus, human rhinovirus, influenza A, parainfluenza 1, and adenovirus.

As a response to the overwhelming influx of patients, the hospital has taken measures to increase the number of respiratory beds available. Usually, the hospital has sixty-seven beds to accommodate patients. However, given the emergency, the healthcare center has been able to expand the unit to ninety-nine.

Nonetheless, this hasn’t been enough to meet the escalating demand. Authorities highlighted that “the current occupancy rate stands at a 134% above the intended capacity.”

Doctors also pointed out that some children have been severely affected. There are currently twenty minors receiving care in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), and twelve others are in the Emergency Department with requirements for ICU-level treatment.

Concern is growing among authorities, as the mid-year vacation period is over, and children will now return to school. Health Minister Mary Munive issued a heartfelt plea to the public, considering the situation.

She urged parents, guardians, and the community to take every necessary precaution to safeguard the well-being of children.

“School is back and we have to be very careful, what do we do? What we already know, wash your hands frequently with soap and water, practice the sneezing protocol, keep up to date with the vaccination scheme, avoid agglomeration and staying home if sick,” she emphasized.

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