Ticks transmit new bacterial disease
Ticks are carriers of a new bacterial disease
New tick-borne disease discovered. Swiss researchers at the University of Zurich have detected a hitherto unknown disease transmitted by tick bites and have identified Greater Zurich as a special risk area. The so-called Neoehrlichiose is caused by the bacterium Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis and can be reliably treated with antibiotics, according to the Communication of the University of Zurich.
The scientists around Dr. Guido Bloemberg from the Institute of Medical Microbiology at the University of Zurich had already discovered in 2009 the first infection with the bacterium Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis in humans in the Zurich region. Overall, six cases of neuropathic disease from Europe were known until one year ago, reports Bloemberg and colleagues in the journal "Journal of Clinical Microbiology". The researchers at the University of Zurich have now detected two more infections in the Zurich area. In addition, microbiologists used a new test method to study just under 2,000 ticks caught in forests around Zurich. They were able to detect at individual sites in up to eight percent of the ticks Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis bacteria.
So far, eight people in Europe have fallen ill with new tick-borne illness
The bacterium Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis was first identified in 1999 in ticks and rodents in Europe and Asia. In 2010, the scientists confirmed the head of molecular diagnostics at the Institute of Medical Microbiology, Dr. med. Guido Bloemberg, together with colleagues from Sweden and Germany, the world's first infection in humans and called this as "Neoehrlichiosis". In November 2011 and January 2012, the Swiss researchers again detected two infections based on the patient's blood of two persons from the Zurich region. Thus, of the eight neuropathy diseases known to date throughout Europe, three affected the greater Zurich area. For the scientists a clear indication that there is an increased risk of infection with the newly discovered disease after a tick bite.
Zurich risk area of the newly discovered disease
In order to determine whether Zurich is in fact to be assessed as a risk area for neuropathiosis, the scientists caught 1,916 ticks in four forests surrounding the previously infected patients. Investigation of nymphs, females and males has shown that between 3.5% and 8% of the animals carry the pathogenic bacterium Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis, Swiss microbiologists write. The results of the study suggest that "the Zurich metropolitan area is a risk area for neurodeuriosis, especially for immunocompromised people," emphasized Florian Maurer from the Institute of Medical Microbiology at the University of Zurich. Almost all previously ill patients had an already weakened immune system, which apparently favored the onset of neuro-hepatitis. However, recent infections have also been reported from China to patients with a healthy immune system. In China, seven patients have suffered from neohrlichiosis.
Quick test allows detection of neohrlichiosis
According to the Swiss researchers, the number of actual infections with Candidate Neoehrlichia mikurensis bacteria may be significantly higher than previously thought. "Because the bacteria that cause neuroechtiosis could not be bred in the laboratory so far, and therefore no rapid tests were available, many infections may have gone undetected," Dr. Guido Bloemberg. The now developed rapid test can remedy this situation and can provide information about a possible infection within one day. Suspected neuropathic disease can be clearly diagnosed on the basis of clinical samples such as blood or bone marrow.
Successful treatment with antibiotics
In the patients, the tick-borne candidiasis Neoehrlichia mikurensis bacteria causes recurrent high fever (relapsing fever) of up to 40 degrees Celsius, massive weight loss and general malaise. For Swiss patients, however, antibiotic therapy has enabled a rapid cure. A few weeks after starting the treatment, the bacteria were no longer detectable in the patient's organism, report Bloemberg and colleagues. However, it is still unclear whether the treatment prospects are similarly good if the pathogen remains undetected for a long time. It also had to be clarified "how well the bacterium is transmitted to humans in a sting caused by an infected tick," continues Bloemberg.
Growing health risks from ticks
In any case, the newly discovered neurosis will further increase the health risk of a tick bite. Today, the blood-sucking arachnids in many regions of Germany already transmit the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, which can cause Lyme disease, and and viruses that may lead to an early-summer meningoencephalitis (TBE). Both diseases pose not to be underestimated health risks ... The TBE can even end in death. Drug treatment is not possible with FSME. In Lyme disease, a timely initiated antibiotic therapy, although often the desired result, but in the worst case, the bacterial infectious disease can take a chronic course and cause significant health impairment of patients. The typical feature of borreliosis is marked redness around the bite site, but these are by no means common to all patients. Anyone who suffers from a tick bite from headaches, body aches and fever, should generally urgently consult a doctor, as this can be both signs of Lyme disease, but also a TBE. If the two previously known diseases can not be determined, it should also be thought of in the future also neo-reneliosis and carried out with the help of the rapid test a corresponding review. (Fp)
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