250,000 Austrians on sick leave: Corona meets flu season

Around 250,000 Austrians are currently on sick leave due to a viral infection. A diverse mix of different pathogens is currently circulating in this country. Gradually, the first cases of influenza are also registered in Austria.

AUSTRIA. MedUni Vienna receives samples from people from all over Austria who suffer from respiratory infections. These are then examined for all possible strains of viruses, including the coronavirus. In some cases, corona infection can actually be detected. However, it is rather unlikely that this is the beginning of another corona wave. We are currently registering the first cases of real flu.

Mix of flu, corona and cold

Corona is not particularly active at the moment, explains Monika Redlberger-Fritz, a virologist at MedUni Vienna, in the Ö1 Morgenjournal. From a virological point of view, the picture is very varied. Nowadays, many people just have a normal cold. According to Redlberger-Fritz, however, it can also be observed that there are still cases of summer flu. In addition, the first cases of influenza are gradually becoming known.

Currently, there is also a sharp increase in RSV infections. These are viruses that trigger a strong cough and can lead to serious respiratory diseases, especially in children. The coronavirus is part of the current mix of viruses, the virologist knows:

“Obviously we see that SARS-CoV-2 is now another player that has now emerged and is playing with the annual epidemic and also causing infections and cases of infection over and over again.”

Currently, 205 cases of influenza are registered

All these infections are also reflected in the current figures of the Austrian health insurance company. Currently, almost 250,000 people are on sick leave. Influenza infection was detected in 205 of them. Less than a tenth of sick leave is due to the coronavirus. Experts expect a much higher number of flu cases this winter. In the last two winters, there have been very few patients with the flu. The reason was certainly measures to protect against the coronavirus, such as masks and co.

A virologist recommends a flu shot

This year’s flu vaccine should be well adapted to the prevailing strains, according to initial analyses. Redlberger-Fritz strongly recommends getting vaccinated. Vaccination is recommended for children and adults, but especially for people over 60 and people with chronic diseases. Vaccinations are free for children and youth under 18 this year as well. Adults only have them for free in Vienna. Otherwise, the flu vaccination costs about 20 euros.

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