- The region sees a ‘revival’ of bronchiolitis and RSV after a 2-year lull.
- Dr. Francois de Wet is the territorial chief of staff for Nunavut’s Health Department.
- He sees more medevacs as a respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) returns to the region.
There’s been, on average, nine medevacs each day for people in Nunavut in need of critical health care lately.
Almost two weeks ago, that number jumped to 23 in one day due to a “rebirth” of bronchiolitis and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
“You can imagine that caused significant pressure on our resources,” stated Dr. Francois de Wet, the chief of staff at Qikiqtani General Hospital and the territorial director of the team for Nunavut’s Health Department.
Medical evacuations are expected in the territory, depending on small community health centers that refer patients to regional or southern hospitals as required.
But, de Wet stated it’s not unusual in the region; instead, it’s a return to business.
“One of the good things during COVID — if you can call anything with COVID good… — was that the number of sick kids mostly declined significantly in that two years that we were under quarantine,” de de de Wet said.
Now that travel limitations have lifted, and masks are off, he says diseases are rising, mainly respiratory illnesses.
“We have more people with illnesses of the lungs and throat now again than we’ve had the previous two years.”
That’s why Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut’s chief public health officer, revealed last week that the territory would restart its RSV immunization program for vulnerable infants.
“Typically, we give it for a while, and then once the illness burden settles, we stop,” stated de Wet. “But because it is going on longer this year than the last year, we’ve chosen to look at restarting that again.”
Source – cbc.ca