German teenagers drinking less alcohol: Study

A study into the drinking habits of young people has revealed a continued decrease in regular alcohol consumption among German teenagers.

German teenagers drinking less alcohol: Study
Drinking has declined among teenagers in Germany. Image: DPA

But it also showed binge drinking was on the rise among young adults.

The research was carried out to get an idea of younger people’s drinking habits, both in terms of how often they drink – and how much. 

SEE ALSO: Germany should take drinking tips from Scotland, experts insist

Under one in ten (8.7 percent) Germans aged between 12 and 17 drank alcohol at least once a week. 

This is a significant decline from previous reports. A study conducted on the same age group in 2004 showed that one in five (21.2 percent) drank at least once per week. 

The findings indicate that public awareness campaigns about the dangers of alcohol may be paying off, while they also highlight a tendency among younger generations to be more health conscious than their forebears. 

Binge drinking needs to be tackled

The news was less good for Germans aged between 18 and 25 however, with more than a third (37.8 percent) drinking ‘to intoxication’ at least once in the past month before the survey was taken. 

Marlene Mortler of the centre-right CSU, who is the Federal Government’s Drug Commissioner, told DPA that the findings were welcome, while also indicating that more needed to be done to tackle binge drinking. 

“Reaching adulthood shouldn’t mean that all of the sudden it’s alright to drink too much alcohol”, she said. 

Mortler said education campaigns focusing on a “conscious approach to life” could be used to tackle the issue. 

The study, completed by the Federal Centre for Health Education, was conducted on 7,000 young Germans throughout 2018. 

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Monkeypox in Germany: Two teens ‘among new infections’

Two teenage boys between the ages of 15-17 have reportedly been infected by monkeypox, as the number of cases in Germany continues to grow.

Monkeypox in Germany: Two teens 'among new infections'

German news site Spiegel Online first reported the new cases – which are an anomaly for a virus as it has mostly affected gay men – following an inquiry to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). 

They are among a total of 2,677 people who are confirmed to have contracted the virus in Germany to date. There have not been any fatalities.

Out of these, only five cases were women, according to the RKI. The public health institute said that it does not release information on individual cases.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How Germany wants to contain the monkeypox

The disease – which is not usually fatal – often manifests itself through fever, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion and a chickenpox-like rash on the hands and face.

The virus can be transmitted through contact with skin lesions and droplets of a contaminated person, as well as through shared items such as bedding and towels.

Many of the cases known so far concern homosexual and bisexual men. However, affected people and experts have repeatedly warned against stigmatising gay communities.

How fatal is the disease?

The first monkeypox cases were reported in Germany on May 20th, as the disease continued to spread in West Europe.

At the weekend, the first two deaths outside of West Africa were reported in Spain.

READ ALSO: WHO warns ‘high’ risk of monkeypox in Europe as it declares health emergency

The RKI has urged people returning from West Africa and in particular gay men, to see their doctors quickly if they notice any chances on their skin.

According to the latest estimates, there are 23,000 monkeypox cases worldwide, and Europe is particularly affected with 14,000 cases.

There have been 2,677 monkeypox cases in Germany as of August 2, 2022. Photo: CDC handout

About eight percent of patients in Europe have been hospitalised so far, reported the World Health Association on Monday, mostly due to severe pain or additional infections.

In general, the mortality of the variant currently circulating in Europe is estimated to be low.

READ ALSO: More cases of monkeypox ‘expected’ in Germany

Will a vaccine make a difference?

Since July, a vaccine has been authorised in 27 EU member states and in Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. 

The Standing Committee on Vaccination (STIKO) recommends vaccination against monkeypox in Germany for certain risk groups and people who have had close contact with infected people.

So far, the German government has ordered 240,000 vaccine doses, of which 40,000 had been delivered by Friday. 

Around 200,000 doses are set to follow by the end of September. 

The German Aids Federation (DAH) on Friday called for one million vaccine doses, stressing that the current supplies will fall short of meeting need.

“The goal must be to reduce the number of infections as quickly as possible and to get the epidemic permanently under control,” explained Ulf Kristal of the DAH board in Berlin on Friday.

But this is only possible, he said, if as many people at risk of infection as possible are vaccinated.

“We don’t assume the epidemic will be over when the doses available so far have been vaccinated,” Axel Jeremias Schmidt, Epidemiologist and DAH Consultant for Medicine and Health Policy, wrote in a press release.

As long as there are monkeypox infections, he said, people who are at risk must be offered vaccination.