Makarios children’s hospital in Nicosia remains 95 per cent occupied with young patients suffering from respiratory infections, flu and some Covid 19, but mainly with RSV, the director of the paediatric department, Dr Avraam Elias said on Friday.

Admissions were running at eight to ten daily, he said but there were also a number of discharges per day.

Cyprus was currently in the midst of an epidemic, which occurs among the child population every three to four years, he told the Cyprus News Agency. In number, 33 children are currently hospitalised, he said. Half of those are infants under 12 months old.

Elias made a special reference to the cases of microbial pneumonia from pneumococci, which have been recorded recently, noting that hospitalisations of children with severe microbial pneumonias from pneumococci have increased in the last year.

He explained that this may be due to the fact that available vaccines “are not as effective” but that new multivalent vaccines are expected to be released soon, which he said are already being used in the US.

In addition to the RSV virus, children are being hospitalised with Influenza A. Covid numbers have also risen, he said.

“At the moment, three children with Covid 19 are hospitalised in Makarios, but these children have mild symptoms because the new variant does not cause serious complications in the child population,” he added.

“This is the time of the year when RSV infections in the paediatric population start to peak. Usually, the peak occurs at the end of January to the beginning of February, and this is when the flu appears. “There are co-existing viruses in children, such as getting Influenza and RSV at the same time,” he said.

“It seems that we are going through an epidemic, which occurs in the child population every three to four years.”

He assured that the situation was manageable and that plans were being made for a possible increase in hospitalisations.

The capacity of the paediatric department is up to 36 children. However, there is provision to expand the number of beds to accommodate 40 children if needed.