The Yamagata flu virus is spreading in Germany. You can find out here how dangerous the Yamagata flu really is.
The flu wave will roll through Germany in 2018. In the past few years, most people became infected with influenza viruses that originated from the influenza A strain. The well-known “swine flu” virus, for example, belongs to the influenza A type. The World Health Organization expected again in 2018 that influenza A viruses in particular would circulate and issued a corresponding vaccination recommendation.
But now a flu virus is on the rise that is not covered by the normal trivalent (3-fold) vaccine. Only the more expensive quadruple vaccine, which unfortunately not all health insurers pay for, also covers the virus type Influenza B – for reasons of cost, not everyone received this flu vaccination.
What is the Yamagata Virus?
The Yamagata virus, along with Victoria virus, is a subtype of the influenza B virus strains. Like the influenza A viruses, they can cause real flu. The Yamagata virus was born in the wake of a flu epidemic first noted in Japan in the 1970s and since then has borne the name of the place where it first appeared.
What is so dangerous about the Yamagata virus?
In short, actually nothing. It’s no more dangerous than most other flu viruses. Like all influenza viruses, the Yamagata virus is very contagious and can be transmitted from person to person even before the onset of acute symptoms. The problem is that in the 2018 flu season, people who have received a flu vaccination will also fall ill. At the beginning of the epidemic, doctors may have assumed it was not flu because of the vaccination. In the meantime, however, it is clear that this year’s vaccination does not provide 100% protection against influenza and that vaccinated people can still get sick.
Influenza Deaths – How Many Are There Really?
The good news is that the Yamagata virus does not cause more deaths than most other flu viruses. More than 600 people are known to have died from the flu during the 2017 flu. In the media the language is occasionally from 5,000 to 20,000 flu deaths per year, but medically this is very controversial.
There have already been several waves of flu in history with an enormously increased death rate. At least 25 million people worldwide died of the so-called “Spanish flu” in 1917 – that is more deaths than were caused by the First World War! Presumably the war and the poor supply situation contributed to the severe course of the flu. Many people were also weakened and were therefore less able to fight a flu infection than people with a good constitution in peacetime.
Experts have long feared that avian influenza (“bird flu”), which currently only occurs in birds, will one day make the leap to the human organism and thus trigger the next pandemic. However, the Yamagata virus is not a “killer”.
Death from the flu – who is at risk?
But flu is not to be trifled with. If the course is severe, severe and extremely serious complications are possible, especially in people with a weakened immune system. In particular, the elderly, the chronically ill and small children can die of influenza. That is why the following applies to all flu sufferers: Go to the doctor, because only a doctor can assess how threatening the flu really is for you. If necessary, the doctor will arrange for more intensive medical care. Sick people should also heal themselves thoroughly. On the one hand in order not to infect other people, on the other hand in order to avoid possible long-term consequences from overload – flu is associated with myocarditis and other serious illnesses as a long-term consequence.
However, panic is in no way appropriate – the 2018 flu wave is stronger than usual, but far from an epidemic.
The 2018 flu wave – how you can still protect yourself now
As in every winter, a wave of flu is spreading in Germany this year. You can read here how strong this is currently and how you can best prevent infection.
How can you protect yourself
Because many people are not vaccinated against the flu, the 2018 flu wave can spread almost unhindered. A further complicating factor with the Yamagata virus is that many people shy away from the cost of a quadruple vaccination. There are still some things you can do to protect yourself from the flu infection:
Avoid large crowds
Keep your distance from other people
Wash your hands regularly
Do not drink from someone else’s glasses
Avoid kissing the cheek in greeting
If you follow these rules of conduct, you will minimize the risk of contracting the Yamagata virus and becoming part of the 2018 flu wave.