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Swiss flu epidemic continues to grow
Image: Federal Office of Public Health

Swiss flu epidemic continues to grow

Published: 13 Feb 2013 21:48 GMT+01:00
Updated: 13 Feb 2013 21:48 GMT+01:00

A flu epidemic, first noted in Switzerland at the beginning of January, is continuing to grow, the federal office of public health says.

The number of cases is increasing in all age groups across the country, save for those aged 15 to 29, the department said this week.

Overall, the number of medical consultations for the flu rose to 479 cases per 100,00 residents from 407 in the seven-period ending on Tuesday.

That's well above the minimum level of 69 consultations per 100,000 used to declare an epidemic, though its remains below the worst contagions of past years.

A map on the health department’s website shows shows the flu is widespread in all regions of the country with children aged five to 14 the most affected.

In that age group, an estimated 900 consultations with doctors for flu-like symptoms per 100,000 residents is estimated, the government figures show.

The worst-hit cantons are Ticino, Graubünden, Bern, Fribourg and Jura.

The public health office monitors the flu through its "Swiss Sentinel System", which involves reports from 200 doctors in primary healthcare.

They provide weekly reports.

Although flu-related deaths among the elderly have been reported — five cases were reported by the Geneva university hospital system (HUG) on Tuesday — the health office said “no excessive mortality has been observed”.

In fact, every year 500 to 1,000 vulnerable patients die from the flu in Switzerland every year, Darcy Christen, spokesman for CHUV, the Lausanne hospital, told the Tribune de Genève.

But these are people already at risk, including those with breathing disorders, children of a young age and elderly patients, he said.

The figures indicate that this year’s flu round is the worst since 2008-2009, but the epidemic falls well short of the levels recorded in Switzerland in 1999-2000.
 

Malcolm Curtis (news@thelocal.ch)

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Your comments about this article

2013-03-10 09:35:58 by Rockstarbandit
What amazes me about this country is there seems to be little health education regarding the spread of germs. Kids are not being thought to not share drinks, cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze and frequently wash their hands. From what I have seen since I moved here is that many Swiss parents are relying on the school teachers to teach proper manners and germ prevention to their children. These manners needs to be taught at home from the day a child is born. Most people in this country go out when they are sick, they infect the people around them with their lack of education on how germs are spread. Blow your nose then immediately throw your tissue in the trash and wash your hands or use hand sanitizer. Stay home when you are sick. Perhaps the public health department needs enlist a better education program for the citizens to help control the spread of germs.
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