Saturday, November 26, 2022

Australia before severe flu pandemic

Status: 06/01/2022 3:22 PM

Australia is at risk of its worst flu wave in years: the number of infections has been rising for weeks. Previously, corona protective measures also kept the influenza virus under control.

In Australia, winter begins in early June – and with the colder months, the number of flu infections soars. The eastern parts of the country in particular are reporting the highest number of infections in years and caution is warranted.

According to the Australian Department of Health, more than 38,700 cases of influenza were confirmed in medical laboratories from the beginning of the year to 22 May. More than 26,000 of these infections were detected within two weeks – between May 9 and May 22. For comparison: Last year, laboratories recorded 598 cases of flu from January to November.

Higher risk of infection, especially for young people

368 people who contracted influenza since April had to be hospitalized for treatment – 7.6 percent of these patients went straight to the intensive care unit, according to the ministry.

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According to the information, the highest infection rate has been recorded in the age group of five to 19 years and in young adults of 20 to 24 years. But children under the age of five are also at higher risk of getting infected.

Three states plan to offer free vaccinations

The eastern states of New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland are particularly hard hit by flu pandemics. All three states want to provide free flu shots. However, the health ministry has already warned that it is too early to guarantee the effectiveness of existing vaccines for the influenza virus at large.

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Nevertheless, Queensland’s prime minister, Anastasia Palaszczuk, insisted on a “preemptive strike” to combat the rising number of infections. The current development is on par with the flu pandemic of 2017. At the time, more than 1,200 people had died in Australia after contracting the flu virus.

mild flu season in corona era

According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Germany also recorded a very severe flu epidemic in the 2017/2018 season, the most severe in decades. Around 25,000 people died in Germany at that time, possibly as a result of influenza.

In the last two coronavirus years, the flu season was mild in both Germany and Australia. Protective measures taken during the pandemic also contained the spread of influenza. According to the RKI, about 14,400 flu infections were detected in a laboratory in Germany between October and May 16.

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