Violent flu: Several clinics had to close the emergency room

Violent flu: Several clinics had to close the emergency room

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Overload due to flu: Several hospitals at the limit
Weeks ago there were indications that there could be significantly more flu cases this season than last winter. Diseases are currently on the increase in some regions. In southern Germany, several hospitals now had to close their emergency rooms due to overload. The reason for this is the violent flu wave.

Flu should not be underestimated
The current flu season started much earlier in some areas of Germany than in previous years. Health experts warn against underestimating influenza. For example, the Bavarian State Office for Health (LGL) wrote on its website: "For people with underlying illnesses, flu can be a life-threatening complication." In fact, dozens of people have died of the disease during the current flu wave. In southern Germany, some hospitals have now reached their limit.

Several clinics are overloaded
The emergency departments of several clinics in Nuremberg and Munich are currently overloaded, reports the news agency dpa. Hans-Peter Reissmann, spokesman for the fire brigade in Nuremberg, where the integrated rescue control center is located, said that the reason was the flu wave, at least in Franconia.

"There are a lot of patients arriving in the hospitals and some of the nursing staff are absent due to the flu," says Reissmann. “It is extremely difficult at the moment. We are not aware of any comparable situation to the extent from previous years. ”

The Bavarian Broadcasting Corporation (BR), which first reported on the bottlenecks, pointed out that, in addition to influenza, the Nororvirus and RSV (Human Respiratory Syncytial Virus) are also becoming increasingly common.

Family doctor instead of emergency room
Even without the flu, many hospitals often have crowded emergency rooms. Many of the patients who go to these facilities would be better off with the family doctor.

As Reissmann explained, clinics in Nuremberg would have to temporarily close their emergency rooms. The patients would have to be partially distributed to hospitals in Erlangen and in the Nuremberg region. "The ambulances are currently on the road for a long time until they accommodate the patients."

On the Ivena portal, which shows the capacities of the clinics in Munich and Nuremberg, among other places, red bars were displayed on Tuesday mornings, which indicate the status "occupied". "We hope that the situation will slowly ease in mid-February," Reissmann said.

Main focus of the current flu wave
The latest influenza report from the Influenza Working Group (AGI) shows that the flu is currently particularly widespread in southern and eastern Germany. The focus is also on North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate. However, not all flu cases are reported.

This is also due to the fact that many patients are not sure whether the flu or a flu infection is responsible for their symptoms. Not all of them go to the doctor, and people with cold symptoms are not always tested for influenza there either.

Although the 2016/2017 influenza season is in full swing, it can still make sense, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), to get vaccinated against influenza.

No one hundred percent protection
According to the RKI's “Epidemiological Bulletin” (4/2017), according to the latest influenza weekly report by the AG Influenza AG, RKI “currently has around 98% influenza A (H3N2) viruses known for this, especially among older people and causing serious illnesses and deaths to young children ”.

The Standing Vaccination Committee (STIKO) recommends vaccination for risk groups (pregnant women, people aged 60 years and over and people with chronic diseases). The recommendation primarily affects medical and nursing staff.

However, vaccination does not offer 100 percent protection. "As already known from previous seasons with predominant occurrence of A (H3N2) viruses, it is becoming apparent this season that less than half of the vaccinated are protected against an illness with influenza," write the experts.

"Nevertheless, influenza vaccination remains the best preventive measure to reduce the risk of illness. Another advantage of the vaccination is that the disease is usually milder and less complicated in those who are vaccinated, ”he says. (ad)

Author and source information

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