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Lower life expectancy in deprived districts – inequality has increased in Germany in recent decades (2.5.2024)

Symbolic picture for socioeconomic differences. Source: © Hyejin Kang - stock.adobe.comIt has been well-documented that residents of socioeconomically deprived regions die earlier than those in wealthier areas, which is also true for Germany. A research team led by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) has now shown that the life expectancy gap between Germany’s deprived and affluent regions is wider today than it was 20 years ago—and has investigated for the first time which causes of death are behind this socioeconomic life expectancy gap. Colleagues from the Federal Institute for Population Research in Wiesbaden and the Hannover Medical School also contributed to the study. The results have been published in The Lancet Public Health and Bundesgesundheitsblatt.


Immune system suppression in Egyptian fruit bats leads to increased Marburg virus replication and greater potential for spillover events (29.2.2024)

Fruit bats in a cave. Source: © Bobbie Rae Erickson, VSPB/CDCEgyptian fruit bats are the known reservoir of the deadly Marburg virus. However, it is unknown how these bats handle Marburg virus infection without developing disease, unlike humans. Now, an international research team led by Robert Koch Institute and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has shown for the first time that a specific inflammatory immune response is required to control Marburg virus in Egyptian fruit bats. The work has been published in the journal Nature communications


Mechanisms of Ebola virus replication and transmission in Angolan free-tailed bats (31.1.2024)

Collage: Scientist with protective equipment in the S4 laboratory with red light on the left, bat hanging from cloths on the right. Source: RKIEbola virus (formerly known as Zaire ebolavirus) is known to be one of the deadliest human pathogens on our planet for more than 40 years, however, there is still no convincing evidence identifying a natural reservoir host nor the mechanisms of virus circulation in nature. Now, an international team lead by scientists from Robert Koch Institute have shown experimentally how Ebola virus replicates and transmits in Angolan free-tailed bats which are common in Sub-Saharan Africa. Their findings have been published in Nature Communications.


Number of the Month: 19.7 million visits to the doctor due to an acute respiratory infection in Germany since the start of the current season (2.1.2024)

Map of Germany: sentinel practices that participate in the monitoring of acute respiratory infections. Source: RKIThe number of the month for January - 19.7 million - refers to the number of visits to the doctor due to an acute respiratory infection since the start of the current season, from the 40th week (beginning of October) up to and including the 52nd week, in Germany.