1. In a study of all pediatric intensive care units (PICUs) in Paris, there was an 85% reduction in the number of children admitted with bronchiolitis between September and December 2020 compared to the prior 5 years.
2. There were no deaths due to bronchiolitis in Paris during the 2020 study period, compared to a total of 19 deaths in the previous 5 years.
Evidence Rating Level: 2 (Good)
Study Rundown: Acute bronchiolitis is the most common reason for hospitalization in infants. A substantial percentage of children hospitalized with bronchiolitis are admitted to the PICU for respiratory support and close monitoring. This study sought to determine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and its concurrent public health measures (social distancing, hand hygiene practices) on PICU admissions for bronchiolitis in Paris. The number of children < 2 years of age admitted to all 5 PICUs in Paris with bronchiolitis during the last 5 years (between September and December) was used to create a prediction model for the number of PICU admissions between September and December 2020, during the second wave of COVID-19 in France. The predicted number of PICU admissions during the 2020 period was 444, while the actual number of admissions was 65, representing an 85% decrease. The most likely explanations for the decrease in bronchiolitis PICU admission are public health measures such as the practice of social distancing, mandated lockdowns, and hand hygiene measures. Although the study only examined PICU admissions in Paris, the region represents nearly 20% of the entire French population, allowing for extrapolation to other areas in France. This study provides important information regarding reducing the incidence of severe acute bronchiolitis in children.
Relevant Reading: Pediatric hospitalizations during the COVID-19 pandemic
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