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Wave of influenza at its peak

The magistrate for health (MA 15) registered 12,600 new cases of influenza or flu-like infections in Vienna. The seasonal wave of influenza seems to have peaked.

The current wave of influenza in Vienna is not really over yet. The most prominent virus in Austria is the A(H1N1) virus from the swine flu pandemic in 2009/2010. Virologists have also found the "older" A(H3N2) virus. There are also infections of the more harmless Influenza B.

Influenza can be a threat especially for children and older people. The Agency for Health and Food Security (AGES) compared the death rates of years with and years without severe waves of influenza.

The result shows that the infection led to a high excess mortality rate in 2002/2003 with 1,600 deaths (over 65 years: 1,300). In 2004/2005, 1,300 people died from influenza (over 65: just under 1,200) and in 2008/2009, 1,100 people died (all of them over 65).

Many experts claim that these high death rates are due to the fact that only 37 per cent of senior citizens, only 24 per cent of under 65’s and only 17 per cent of relatives of people working in the health sector were vaccinated in 2008/2009.

After the swine flu pandemic in 2009/2010 the sales of the influenza vaccines fell by 50 %. However, many doctors still recommend vaccination.  An influenza wave often lasts for a couple of weeks.

The protection offered by a vaccination builds up over a period of ten days. Therefore, there is still time to receive an effective vaccination.

The vaccination is especially recommended for people with heart and circulation problems, diabetes and immune system deficiencies as well as people who work in the health sector or who often work with people.

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