Influenza infections hit a high in the week up to February 5th, with 14,000 new cases confirmed and 32 larger outbreaks reported.
“A lot of people are complaining of respiratory problems that are generally caused by influenza,” said Silke Buda from the Robert Koch Institute.
The virus has already caused 126 deaths, almost exclusively of patients older than 60. Only school children are more likely than pensioners to become infected.
The influenza is of the type H3N3, which also spread through the country in the winter of 2014-15
Buda cautions that the virus is most at home in places where there are large crowds of people, such as in kindergarten, at school, or in care homes for the elderly.
In Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg the outbreak was most severe over the first week of February. Between January 30th and February 5th, 6,275 people were confirmed as being infected in the wealthy southern states.
Eastern Germany was also hard hit. The five former states of East Germany plus Berlin have had 5,455 new cases.
The west has been less affected, with 2,529 new cases from Saarland up to North Rhine-Westphalia.
There is also no evidence that Carnival celebrations, most famously held in Cologne, will contribute to a spike in new cases.
“We have noticed though that school holidays have an effect in slowing down the spread of the virus,” says Buda
The northwest of Germany has so far escaped the worst clutches of Die Grippe. Only 1,115 new cases were reported in the first week of February.
Where the flu has hit hardest:
This map shows which areas had the most cases. States are grouped by regions.
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