Berlin. Experts anticipate that the flu season will be hitting Germany soon. The number of confirmed influenza cases has risen sharply in the past few days.
Experts are anticipating the start to the flu season in Germany. In the second week of January around 1,260 confirmed flu cases were reported to the Robert Koch Institute. This was the highest number reported so far this flu season, which officially began in October and started slowly picking up in early December. So far, there have been eleven flu-related deaths reported in Germany.
The assessment does cover the complete number of influenza cases as only selected practices send in samples to be examined. It means that the real number of influenza cases is much higher. Still, the statistic is considered a good indicator of how the flu is developing. To date, around 3,680 laboratory-confirmed influenza cases have been registered this season.
The components of this year's vaccine fit well with the Type A viruses that have been discovered so far. For those who would get vaccinated now, it would take up to two weeks for the antibodies to develop, offering the body protection. But it is not a given that every doctor will have the vaccine on hand. More than 15 million doses have been used in total so far this season. Several thousand vaccines have already been imported from other EU countries, to meet a demand which cannot be precisely predicted.
During last year’s flu season, around nine million people went to the doctor because of an influenza illness. It is estimated that more than 20,000 people died of influenza last year, especially older people with pre-existing conditions.
(Orig. text: dpa, Translation: Carol Kloeppel)