The risk of flu has not yet been overcome

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No all-clear: flu risk is not over yet

Even though there are significantly fewer flu diseases this winter than in previous years, the Berlin Robert Koch Institute does not yet want to give the all-clear. Two years ago, the flu wave had only started in mid-February.

Rising number of acute respiratory diseases
The Berlin Robert Koch Institute (RKI) does not want to give the all-clear despite significantly fewer flu diseases than in previous years. As Silke Burda, influenza expert at the RKI said, the flu wave only started in mid-February 2012. The development cannot be predicted. The Influenza Association is currently registering an increasing number of acute respiratory diseases in Germany. As Burda explained, the causes of cough, runny nose and sore throat are currently often in other cold viruses.

Flu infection is not flu
In contrast to a cold (flu infection), the flu is not a harmless disease. The flu (influenza) comes on suddenly and only slowly subsides. Symptoms such as fever, headache and body aches, chills as well as joint and muscle pain occur. Unlike a cold, which only affects the upper respiratory tract, influenza affects the whole body. Flu patients generally feel very weak and miserable. The body can take several weeks to recover from the disease and regain its strength.

Numbers almost harmless this year
The nationwide flu numbers, which are transmitted to the RKI under the Infection Protection Act, look almost harmless this year compared to 2013. In January there were only 373 registered cases of influenza. Last year there were 6,428 records in the first four weeks. According to the RKI, there is still time for a flu shot. In Germany, vaccination rates are still too low at around 28 percent. The Federal Republic of 75 percent of the World Health Organization (WHO) does not reach older people.

Recommended vaccination
The Standing Vaccination Committee (STIKO) at the RKI recommends vaccination primarily for older people over the age of 60, chronically ill people with basic illnesses such as diabetes, asthma or cardiovascular diseases, medical staff and pregnant women from the second trimester of pregnancy, because these belong to the risk groups . As a rule, the costs are borne by the health insurance companies. In principle, however, the pros and cons of flu vaccination must be weighed up against each other. (sb)

Photo credit: Dieter Schütz /

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