Overcrowded hospitals are causing confusion in Italy: 'Something very strange is happening'

Some hospitals in Italy seem to be reaching the limits of their capacity at the moment. More and more people are visiting hospitals due to respiratory illnesses. Here's what we know so far.

'Something very strange is happening' in Italy's hospitals
© Thomas Barwick / GETTYIMAGES
'Something very strange is happening' in Italy's hospitals

This week, we have seen reports about Pirola being potentially more serious than other Covid variants because it can infect cells in the lower lung and enter cell membranes more efficiently. Now another health scare is happening in Italy.

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As the newspaper La Dépêche reports, the situation in Italian hospitals is currently more than tense. In Rome, for example, the number of patients still requiring treatment is said to be more than a thousand. In many cases, this is reportedly to be due to respiratory infections.

Italian scientists are amazed

Anyone who follows the news knows that the flu epidemic has now also reached Germany. According to a report by the Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland (RND), it is mainly younger people who are currently infected with the virus.

According to Heute, the flu also seems to be to blame for the fact that more and more people in Italy are having to go to hospital, but Covid-19 infections are also said to play a role; at the end of 2023, a new peak in case numbers was reached.

Epidemiologist Eric Feigl-Ding is following the events in Italy and posted his views on X:

Something very strange is happening in Italy. Italian scientists are baffled and even describe it as strange. 'Flu-like illnesses' are on the rise.

Swine flu could be behind it

However, according to the newspaper Il giornale di Vicenza, the flu-like illness could simply be caused by swine flu. According to the RKI's ARE weekly report, the virus strain A/(H1N1)pdm09 (also known colloquially as the swine flu virus) is responsible for the rising number of cases among children and young people in Germany.

Fabrizio Pregliasco, who works as a professor at the University of Milan, also seems to have a similar explanation for the full hospital beds:

There is this variant [H1N1, type A] that can spread well. There is a flu that is mainly responsible for the respiratory infections that have put a million Italians to bed in a week. There is a historical virus like RSV, which is in second place in terms of case numbers. And there is a certain presence of Covid.

Anyone who belongs to the high-risk group (according to the Paul Ehrlich Institute, for example, people with chronic kidney disease or chronic lung disease) should be vaccinated between September and October.

This article has been translated from Gentside DE.

Sources used:

La Dépêche: A "situation extrêmement difficile" : urgences saturées, infections records... c'est quoi cette étrange grippe qui frappe l'Italie ?

RND: Thousands of cases: Flu epidemic in Germany began in December

Today: Mysterious flu floods Italian hospitals

X: @DrEricDing

Il giornale di Vicenza: Nuovi casi di influenza suina, cinque pazienti in rianimazione a Vicenza

RKI: ARE weekly report of theRKI

Paul-Ehrlich-Institut: Virus flu - Now is the right time for vaccination!

This man held his sneeze, and something terrifying happened to his body This man held his sneeze, and something terrifying happened to his body