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Where the flu outbreak has been hitting Germany the hardest

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Where the flu outbreak has been hitting Germany the hardest
Photo: DPA
10:15 CET+01:00
In the third week of February this season's flu outbreak hit a peak in Germany, with 24,000 new cases registered. Hospitals in Frankfurt are reportedly stretched to the limit.

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) recorded the 24,000 cases, a rise from 18,700 in the previous week.

A map of Germany issued by the RKI's influenza institute shows an explosion of cases in the seventh week of the year, with few parts of the country outside of a few pockets including Hamburg in the northwest.

New flu cases in (left) week six and (right) week seven of 2018.

Some 82,000 cases of flu have been confirmed nationwide this winter and at least 136 people have already died due to the virus. Most of the deaths were of elderly people who had a pre-existing condition.

The Frankfurter Rundschau reports that hospitals in Frankfurt are struggling to cope with the large numbers of new cases. On occasion no hospitals in the city have been able to take in new flu patients, a spokesman for the city health authority told the newspaper.

Over the past seven days, 294 cases of influenza have been confirmed in the finance hub, a number far exceeding the high point of 125 in a week last year.

Berlin is also in the grip of the Grippe. The city health authority recorded 600 new cases in the third week of February, the highest recorded number for a single week since 2009. The epicentre of the Berlin outbreak is the district of Schöneberg-Tempelhof. So far 2,650 people in the capital have come down with the flu this season.

In Hanover meanwhile, the emergency room of the Medizinische Hochschule Hannover (MHH) has been significantly busier since the start of the year than during the summer months. Doctors at the MHH report that heart attacks have also been on the rise. A flu vaccination before the start of the flu season is supposed to reduce the risk of heart attack, but this year the vaccination has been particularly ineffective.

The World Health Organization complained earlier this month that too few elderly people in Europe are being vaccinated against the flu.

“I urge European countries to increase the rate of vaccination,” Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO regional director said, adding that three out of four elderly people should be given a vaccine.

The current of rate of vaccination among the elderly in most EU countries is between 30 and 40 percent.

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