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Three dead young people in Germany after secondary infection - RKI indicates an increase


Three children die as a result of an influenza infection. The Robert Koch Institute explains the background in its weekly report.

Three children die as a result of an influenza infection.

The Robert Koch Institute explains the background in its weekly report.

Munich – The corona virus or the flu wave (influenza) are causing problems for quite a few people in the winter of 2022/23.

The Robert Koch Institute has now reported three deaths that were preceded by influenza infection.

This emerges from the current ARE weekly report of the RKI.

"ARE" stands for "acute respiratory diseases", i.e. for acute respiratory diseases.

The background to the deaths are so-called secondary infections.

RKI reports on three dead young people in Germany - and gives background information

At the turn of the year, three deaths among children and adolescents were reported from Saxony-Anhalt, the RKI wrote.

The similarities: All showed symptoms of bacterial meningitis (meningitis).

At the same time, all three influenza A viruses could be detected.

"The three deaths indicate an increase in serious illnesses due to secondary bacterial infections after influenza A infection," the study concludes.

The RKI therefore assumes that the three young people were first infected with influenza A and then with a bacterial pathogen.

In two cases "Streptococcus pyogenes" and in one case "Staphylococcus aureus" were detected in the blood culture.

Streptococci and staphylococci are both bacterial pathogens.

According to the RKI in its report, secondary infections caused by bacterial pathogens such as these would occur particularly during the flu and cold season.

These bacterial pathogens (e.g. group A streptococci, pneumococci, Haemophilus influenzae, Staphylococcus aureus) "should be taken into account in the differential diagnosis in addition to meningococci in the case of serious bacterial infections such as meningitis or sepsis".

The RKI suspects that a first infection with influenza viruses, as in the case of the three young people, increases the risk of a severe course of the disease caused by bacterial pathogens.

Flu epidemic and secondary infections in Germany

The activity of the acute respiratory diseases (ARE activity) has been “determined significantly by the influenza virus circulation that has persisted since the beginning of the flu wave in the 43rd week of 2022,” writes the RKI.

In connection with this, the number of secondary bacterial infections, some of which are severe, has also increased.

This reason was also mentioned by Dr.

Christoph Specht, general practitioner and medical journalist,


He also suspected that after Corona we were more susceptible to infections overall.

The RKI did not give exact figures on how many secondary infections there are currently in Germany or how large the increase actually is.

Secondary infections in Germany: Problematic if too much time passes

One can only hope that the increase in secondary infections will now decrease again, said Dr.


"Actually, many bacterial infections could be treated well if they were discovered early and the right antibiotic selected." However, it is problematic if too much time passes "and the bacteria can already be raging in the body".

A secondary infection is not easy to recognize

, the expert told

“First of all, a diagnosis is made, for example a viral infection and in these cases influenza.

That then explains many of the symptoms.

But if there are other symptoms that match, you are of course inclined to attribute them to influenza.” To be really sure and to recognize a secondary bacterial infection, you have to have a swab taken by a doctor.


Source: merkur

All news articles on 2023-01-17

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