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Wave of respiratory infections in Denmark expected to continue through Christmas

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Ritzau/The Local - [email protected]
Wave of respiratory infections in Denmark expected to continue through Christmas
Various respiratory illnesses are currently spreading in Denmark. Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Respiratory infections are increasing in Denmark as the winter progresses, new health authority figures show.

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A weekly update from the national infectious disease control agency, State Serum Institute (SSI), released Wednesday, shows an upward trend in cases of the two illnesses as well as other respiratory conditions including RS virus, whooping cough and atypical pneumonia.

Medical consultant and head of department at SSI, Bolette Søborg, said that almost all types of respiratory illness were increasing.

“Infections have increased further with Covid-19, where we can see that its incidence is up on infections and hospitalisations,” she said.

READ ALSO: Danish disease agency confirms atypical pneumonia epidemic

SSI’s data is based on people who have been tested for the relevant diseases and is updated on Wednesday each week.

The infectious disease agency can also see increased Covid-19 levels in wastewater, Søborg said.

Data can be used to assess trends but not how many people have one of the illnesses, she noted.

“The numbers tell us nothing about how many people in the population are infected. Those who are tested are only a small fraction,” she said.

Wastewater testing is a “better indicator” in this regard, she said.

The surge in respiratory illnesses is expected by SSI to continue through the Christmas period.

SSI advises members of the public to stay at home from work or school if they experience symptoms of respiratory infections like colds, flu or Covid-19. They should not return until back to full health, Søborg said.

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“Remember good hand hygiene, cough or sneeze into your arm and get vaccinated if you are in a risk group,” she said.

READ ALSO: Who should get vaccinated against Covid and flu in Denmark and when?

Whooping cough and atypical pneumonia are the most common of the illnesses among young people, with Covid more prevalent in older groups according to SSI.

Søborg noted that RS virus and whooping cough can be particularly serious for small children, while covid-19 and influenza make the elderly sicker than other groups.

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