The isolation induced by the Covid epidemic has been highlighted as one of the factors contributing to a significant increase in the number of children visiting the paediatric emergency department at University Hospital Limerick.
It has also rendered youngsters more vulnerable to common illnesses, with the number of childhood respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infections more than doubling last year compared to 2020.
According to the annual infectious diseases report from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC), there were 4,382 cases of RSV in 2021, up from 1,947 in 2020.
Medical experts have warned that once children return to school and other social activities, they will have minimal protection to viruses such as RSV because they were isolated for much of 2020 and early 2021.
The number of children enrolled.