As at mid-January 2021, there has not yet been a reported case of the flu in Austria this winter.
Austria’s Kurier newspaper said this shows the effectiveness of the country’s coronavirus lockdown, as the measures “did not allow the influenza season to begin in the first place.”
Last year at the same time, the Medical University of Vienna – which runs an Austria-wide influenza network – had reported “hundreds of cases”.
In total, 840 people died from the flu last year in Austria, ORF reports.
Monika Redlberger-Fritz, a spokesperson from the university, said the findings are similar throughout the rest of Europe, not only with flu cases but with a range of other viruses as well.
“At this time of year we usually also see a large number of other viruses that are transmitted via respiratory means. These have decreased.”
In addition to the flu, the prevalence of the common cold has also been much lower.
Gabriele Hartmann, head of infection prevention at the Feldkirch Regional Hospital, told ORF that Austria has the measures to thank for the reduced spread of the flu.
“Influenza can be stopped by the same measures as the coronavirus. If they are now relaxed, influenza will appear,” says Hartmann.
The President of the Vorarlberg Chamber of Pharmacists, Jürgen Rehak, said higher flu vaccination rates also had an impact.
Flu vaccinations increased by 25 percent in Austria this winter.