Experts at the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) estimate that the prevalence of acute respiratory illnesses in the population is exceptionally high. "The values are currently even above the level of previous years at the peak of severe influenza waves," says the weekly report of the working group influenza of the RKI on Wednesday afternoon. The figures, estimated with the help of information from citizens, refer to the previous week.
The values have risen even further compared to the previous week. According to the report, a total of approximately 9.5 million acute respiratory illnesses are assumed to have occurred in the population during the week under consideration - regardless of whether or not a doctor was consulted.
The number of doctor visits for respiratory illnesses in the week in question was "above the values of previous years at this time and in a range that was otherwise only reached in peak weeks of strong flu waves," the RKI writes. This occurrence was largely determined by influenza infections.
The number of flu cases confirmed in laboratories and reported to the RKI in accordance with the Protection Against Infection Act for the past week was about 27,200, it said, also a sharp increase compared to the previous week. According to the report, close to 160 flu outbreaks with at least five cases have been reported since the beginning of October, including about 60 in schools. The number of recorded deaths with flu infection was put at 30 in the report. The reporting numbers are only a small slice of the actual situation.
"In addition, particularly in young children under two years of age, ongoing RSV activity is causing physician consultations and hospitalizations," the RKI wrote. RSV stands for respiratory syncytial virus. Increasing influenza and high RSV activity are also reported from other countries in Europe, it said. The proportion of covid-19 cases, meanwhile, "further stabilized" last week.
The flu wave in Germany started early this time: in the week ending Oct. 30, according to RKI definitions. In the previous two winters, waves had largely failed to materialize because of the pandemic and the measures taken against it. Experts therefore feared more susceptible people in the population.
Image by Luisella Planeta