Doctors see more high-level viruses circulating in children after the corona measures are lifted. During the lockdowns, the children have not come into contact with the normally circulating viruses, so the immune system is suddenly put to work.
The increase in infectious diseases in children is not only apparent in chickenpox; last year we saw an RS epidemic among small children in the middle of summer. This virus, which is actually a winter virus, surfaced shortly after the relaxation was relaxed.
GPs also registered many more young people between the ages of 15 and 24 with pneumonia this week (week 18) than in the week before. This was also visible at the beginning of the year in young people between the ages of 5 and 15, as was the diagnosis of respiratory diseases. The acute hepatitis, which was particularly noticeable in England in children, is also an example of this. In the Netherlands, this has been limited to four hospital admissions.
Research institute Nivel reports that in the last months of 2021, after two years of few cases, the general practitioners suddenly saw more chickenpox. This will continue in 2022. “In children between 0 and 4 years – the most susceptible group – we see an increase of 400 to 500 percent in 2022 compared to the same period in 2021. It is striking that there is also a sharp increase in the group of children between 5 and 15 years; chickenpox is twice as common among them as last year,” writes Nivel, which is based on nearly four hundred general practices.
There have also been more reports this year of young children being infected with a so-called streptococcal bacteria. This is three times higher than in other years. Seventy children with serious infections have now been hospitalized. Seven children did not survive. In the hospital they can suffer from meningitis, blood poisoning, bone or joint inflammation and pneumonia. The RIVM does not call it an outbreak, but does speak of a kind of catch-up effect after the corona pandemic. The bacterium seems to strike mainly in children who have just had chickenpox.
Professor of pediatrics and liver doctor Henk-Jan Verkade of UMC Groningen said earlier in this newspaper that he is very curious about the defenses of children in China and Australia, where strict lockdowns are and have been. “Are we going to see more sick children there later?”
What are chickenpox?
Chickenpox is caused by a virus. There are usually thirteen to eighteen days between the infection and the first symptoms. After going through the disease, the virus remains in the body without being active. If the virus becomes active again later in life, it can cause shingles. It starts with a low-grade fever and drowsiness in children. After one or two days, small red bumps appear on the skin; blisters form that cause a lot of itching. They dry up and then they become scabs. The symptoms last about ten days.
Chickenpox is very contagious; the virus is in the throat and nose of someone who has chickenpox. By coughing, sneezing and talking, small droplets containing the virus are released into the air. Someone can become infected by inhaling these droplets, or by direct contact with fluid from the chickenpox blisters. Contamination is difficult to prevent. There is a vaccination against chickenpox. This is not part of the National Immunization Programme, but can be obtained at your own expense. Most people get chickenpox as a child; 95 percent have had the virus under 6 years of age.