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Flu wave not so bad for ten years
In the current flu report of the eighth calendar week, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reports a further increase in larbor-confirmed flu cases by a further 35,284 new cases as well as a strong activity of acute respiratory diseases (ARE). This brings the total number of influenza cases to 119,533 cases since the beginning of this year's flu season. 216 patients died as a result of the flu. The majority of the fatalities were over 60 years old. 17 percent of patients had to be treated in hospitals.
The map of the current activity in respiratory diseases of the eighth calendar week 2018 of the Influenza Association lights up red in all regions of Germany. Red stands for a strongly increased influenza activity. As in the past few weeks, the majority of influenza B viruses make up 75 percent, followed by influenza A viruses of the (H1N1) pdm09 type with 22 percent and influenza A viruses of the H3N2 type with 3 percent. The influenza A viruses are considered more dangerous and, despite their low prevalence, are responsible for 53 percent of deaths under the age of 60.
Metropolitan areas are particularly badly affected
Explosive outbreaks occurred particularly in places where there are many people. The RKI reports 53 outbreaks in hospitals, 45 in kindergartens, 29 in schools, 17 in old people's or nursing homes, 14 in rhea facilities and six in care facilities, five in medical treatment facilities and four in dormitories. In addition, 53 outbreaks occurred without further information on the infection environment.
Some patients were particularly hard hit
According to the RKI, some of those affected had infections with multiple virus types. So 14 people suffered from double infections. Influenza A (H1N1) pdm09 and influenza B viruses were detected in two samples. Influenza B and RS viruses were confirmed in three samples. A triple infection was even detected in two other patients, including a sample with A (H1N1) pdm09, H3N2 and B viruses.
The RKI reports 216 deaths
Influenza is considered dangerous especially for older people over the age of 60. 83 percent of the 216 deaths to date fall in this age group. During seasonal flu waves, medical doctors advise that people over the age of 60 or with underlying illnesses should pay special attention to the symptoms of flu, regardless of whether they are vaccinated or not. Because even a vaccination cannot rule out an infection entirely. This group of people and people with particularly severe disease courses should consider anti-viral treatment at an early stage.
Some practices reach their limits
According to the RKI data, medical practices in Germany have had almost three times as many patients in the past few weeks as in the non-flu season in October and November. This was the highest value in the past ten years. In the eighth calendar week alone, the RKI estimates the number of visitors to the doctor's office at 2.5 million people with acute respiratory diseases. The RKI can only finally assess the dimensions of this year's flu wave after the season.
Flu shot does not offer guaranteed protection
According to the RKI, the effectiveness of a flu vaccination in older people is only between 41 and 63 percent. The effectiveness of the younger ones would still be around 80 percent. This means that older people, in particular, cannot fully rely on protection from vaccination. Due to the enormous number of cases, however, many cases can be prevented by vaccination.
What to do if you are already sick?
The RKI recommends that sick people, as far as possible, ensure that no other people are infected. If possible, keep a distance of two meters and keep away from children, the chronically ill, pregnant women and the elderly. In addition, sick people should pay close attention to their hygiene. So wash your hands properly, do not sneeze or cough in your hands and dispose of used tempo immediately. Home remedies for flu can be used to support medical advice. In addition, the doctor should clarify whether it is flu or a flu-like infection. (vb)