Experts warn Germany hit by wave of respiratory virus infections

7.12.2023, 14:41

Germany's public health agency, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), said the country is experiencing a wave of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infections.

In its weekly report on acute respiratory diseases, RKI stated on Wednesday that the current wave started the week of November 20.

Children under the age of two are "particularly affected by hospitalization with RSV infection," the institute wrote.

The report also warned that coronavirus infections and colds caused by rhinoviruses are currently present in Germany, though there are no signs so far of a flu epidemic.

The first symptoms of RSV infection in children will usually be a runny nose and loss of appetite, with a sore throat not far behind.

"Coughing and sneezing follow, and a fever often occurs," Germany's Federal Centre for Health Education (BZgA) wrote on its website. As a result, pneumonia is possible.

There was a strong wave of RSV in many countries last autumn and winter, putting a strain on hospitals and pediatric practices.

Many children were infected who had no previous contact with the pathogen due to the coronavirus pandemic and the public health measures taken against it.

German experts had expected a more normal wave this winter.

Risk groups for severe cases of RSV include premature babies, children with pre-existing lung disease or heart defects, adults over 65 and people with an impaired immune system.