Status: 05.01.2023 10:57 a.m
Worrying about the holidays was great. Medical practices and clinics were overwhelmed due to respiratory diseases. The number of cases has fallen since then, but is still high.
The number of acute respiratory diseases in Germany fell at the end of the year. Despite the decline, however, the values are higher than those of previous years, as the Influenza Working Group at the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) writes in its weekly report.
For the last week of December, the experts assume a total of around 6.4 million acute respiratory diseases in the population, regardless of a doctor’s visit. In the week of December 12-18, that figure was nine million. Since then, the numbers have dropped.
Tense situation before Christmas
Before Christmas, the tense situation in the health system had caused concern. In view of the high number of infections, clinics and medical practices were overloaded, and some operations that could be planned were cancelled. Certain medicines, such as fever juices, were also in short supply.
According to the report, the acute respiratory diseases in the last two weeks of December 2022 were mainly due to the strong circulation of influenza viruses and respiratory syncytial viruses (RSV). Sustained RSV activity drives visits to the doctor and hospital admissions, particularly in children under the age of two.
Future developments are not foreseeable
“Influenza viruses continue to cause the majority of acute respiratory diseases,” writes the AGI. The recent sharp decline in doctor visits was also observed before the pandemic at the end of the year over the holidays.
According to the experts, it is not yet foreseeable how the flu epidemic will continue to develop. This could “only be better assessed in the coming weeks”. The spread of the flu had started much earlier this season than in previous years. Because of the mask requirement and the contact restrictions, there had been practically no flu outbreak for two years.