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First wave of swine flu has probably passed

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First wave of swine flu has probably passed
Photo: DPA
14:36 CET+01:00
The first wave of swine flu, which has killed at least 59 people in Germany, appears to be subsiding, doctors told news magazine Der Spiegel in a report published Saturday.

The number of patients with acute respiratory illnesses in Bavaria had dropped compared with two weeks ago, according to figures obtained by the magazine.

“That is a gentle trend,” said Susanne Glasmacher, spokeswoman for the Robert Koch Institute, the federal centre charged with disease control and prevention.

The situation is also improving in the north of the country. Doris Schrage of the Altona Children's Hospital in Hamburg, told Spiegel: “The big wave of infections has probably already passed.”

And children's doctor Heiko Krude of the Virchow Clinic at Berlin's Charite University said: “The symptoms are largely mild. We have no shortage of intensive care beds or artificial respiration equipment.”

Up to 4.8 million Germans, including high-risk groups such as children and the elderly, and health care workers, have been immunised, Spiegel reported.

A vaccination for pregnant women – who are also an at-risk group – is likely to be approved within a week.

On Tuesday, state health ministers are set to meet to discuss how urgently they should recommend vaccination for the healthy sections of the community – especially the possibility of organising mass immunisation.

The Robert Koch Institute confirms there have been 59 deaths so far from swine flu.

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