The "surge" continues. Nearly 900 SOS Médecins consultations and 2,500 visits to the emergency room for pneumonia were recorded among children under 15 last week, compared to 700 and 2,150 the previous week, according to the new bulletin of Public Health France published this Wednesday, November 29. This now accounts for 2.3% and 2.6% of total activity, respectively.
Such values have not been seen for at least a decade. The curves also continue to climb in adults, but without reaching such unusual levels for this time of year.
This resurgence of pneumonia (or pneumonia) is largely linked to the return of the bacterium Mycoplasma pneumoniae. It had circulated very little at the height of the Covid-19 epidemic, when we were confined and then wore masks. Unlike many other pathogens (influenza viruses, respiratory syncytial virus, etc.), it did not make a comeback last year but... in recent months.
A viral origin is still possible
"There has been a shudder in its circulation since the summer, and it has clearly accelerated over the past two months," Cécile Bébéar, professor of medical microbiology and director of the bacteriology laboratory in Bordeaux, the reference center, told us last Friday.
The Ministry of Health also evokes this Wednesday morning an "unusual upsurge of cases of respiratory infections with Mycoplasma pneumoniae, including requiring hospitalization in adults and children in France".
Read alsoMycoplasma pneumoniae: origin, symptoms... Five minutes to understand the comeback of this bacterium
Fortunately, "the vast majority of infections are moderate and it won't be as dramatic as RSV (respiratory syncytial virus, which causes bronchiolitis)," added Cécile Bébéar. Some antibiotics, including macrolides (including azithromycin) are believed to be effective against Mycoplasma pneumoniae. "We have six months of stock," wanted to reassure the Minister of Health, Aurélien Rousseau, this Wednesday morning on France Info.
Still, if demand explodes, tablets could be less easily accessible everywhere in France. The Ministry of Health calls on health professionals to be "vigilant" and also asks not to neglect, "in the first place", a viral origin in the event of pneumonitis in a child or adult. In this case, no antibiotics are effective.