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Gastroenteritis in free fall since the arrival of the Covid-19


In its annual winter report, Public Health France noted a "historic" drop in cases of gastro, which the agency explains in particular by the regular practice of barrier gestures.

If the coronavirus has few positive aspects, we can at least grant it this one: acute gastroenteritis (AGE), which strongly affects Europe each year with the onset of the cold, has marked, concomitantly with the emergence of the pandemic, a sharp decline in France.

In its annual winter surveillance report published on April 30 and covering the period from November 2019 to April 2020, Public Health France notes a “

historic drop

” never observed over the past 10 years.

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Transmissible at any age, gastro, of viral origin, is a disease which particularly concerns young people.

Every winter, it is the almost inevitable nightmare of young parents: in France, 95% of children under 5 have been infected at least once.

The celebrations follow: diarrhea, nausea, sometimes vomiting and abdominal pain, with the risk of dehydration.

Since January 2020, when the first wave of coronavirus has spread in France, gastro has been clearly eclipsed. During the first wave of Covid-19, cases of GEA in hospital emergencies did not exceed 96,713 throughout France, or 1.6% of total passages, against more than 135,000 the previous year. A significant drop that was maintained during the second and third waves, according to the Sentinels Network in charge of medical studies. "

The winter which has just ended has confirmed the trend: our most recent data show a record absence of GEA over the last decade,


Charly Kengne-Kuetcheen, epidemiologist at the Sentinels Network

, explains to



This decrease, Public Health France explains it mainly by the daily practice of barrier gestures: physical distancing, but above all strengthening of hand hygiene, a recommendation issued for a long time by general practitioners.


The barrier gestures obviously had a very beneficial effect

", explains Marie-Christine Ricard Hibert, pediatrician at Carcassonne Santé Publique France


The barrier gestures obviously had a very beneficial effect

", abounds Marie-Christine Ricard Hibert, pediatrician in Carcassonne, who has seen her consultations for GEA melt since the first wave of Covid-19. “

In fact, rotavirus, one of the main viruses causing gastroenteritis, is transmitted only through the hands. But confinement has also played a role: more travel by train, plane or car, therefore more breaks in the motorway areas where changing tables are real sources of contamination,

"says the pediatrician. "

The few cases that I have been able to diagnose in recent months were all children living in communities, in nurseries or nursery schools, where everyone touches each other


Long before the official figures, Hélène Lauzière, National Education nurse and Aix-Marseille academic secretary of SNICS-FSU, had also noted a drastic drop in cases of gastro in the 23 establishments where she works.

The teachers themselves reported it to me: since January 2020, absences linked to this disease have become rare,

” she reports


During our health education sessions, from Kindergarten to CE1, we strive to teach children how to wash their hands.

From now on, we can consider that the message has passed and the reflexes acquired, including among the youngest

”, welcomes the nurse.

Read also: Covid-19: after a month of confinement, the epidemic is slowly receding

If, on the side of hospitals, we are delighted with the application of simple hygiene measures that allow a decongestion of emergency services, Dr. Ricard Hibert is nevertheless worried about the consequences of the abandonment of medical consultations for GEA. "

People no longer go out to go to the doctor, either because they are confined, or because they are afraid of being infected by Covid patients in medical centers

", explains the pediatrician, while the virus which generated between 1 and 4 million consultations in general medicine each year, counted only 145,000 in 2020. “

But in infants, gastro does not cure itself!

», She warns, recalling that in France, 45 to 80 young babies die of dehydration following acute gastroenteritis. In addition to gastro, several respiratory pathologies such as influenza and bronchiolitis have also been sharply reduced with the appearance of Covid-19, trends that scientists hope will continue after the pandemic crisis.

Source: lefigaro

All tech articles on 2021-05-03

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