Ticks also spread in cities

Ticks also spread in cities / Health News

Danger of infection: Ticks also spread in cities


In German cities ticks continue to spread. This is also because the habitats for the host animals of the small bloodsuckers in urban areas are increasing. This can also increase the risk of infection for diseases such as Lyme disease or meningitis.

Ticks spread in cities
Ticks continue to spread in German cities. This is because there is an increase in suitable habitats even for the host animals, such as mice or rats, on which the blood-sucking parasites sit. This was stated by Franz-Rainer Matuschka, a parasitologist from the university outpatient department of the University of Potsdam and his colleague Dania Richter from the Technical University of Braunschweig to the news agency dpa. For example, ticks with the pathogens of Lyme borreliosis or the brain disease FSME (tick-borne encephalitis) would have long since been found in Berlin, Freiburg, Hanover or Magdeburg. Except in forest areas, they also live in parks, backyards and gardens, as well as former Rieselfeldern and on wall strips or playgrounds. In addition to mice and rats, their means of transport are birds, foxes or hedgehogs.

Topic was not considered for a long time
„The sprawl has increased“, so Matushka. „Our city gardens are cared for differently than before, are more natural, and that entails increased risks for all beauty.“ The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) in Berlin states: „The reporting figures have risen significantly in the eastern part of the Federal Republic in the first half of the last decade, one of the causes could be a change in leisure time behavior.“ These included jogging or Nordic walking. Matushka and Richter emphasized: „If the humidity is high and there are enough host animals, the ticks can also multiply in the cities.“ Forest edges and shady meadows are ideal for the animals. The parasitologist said that one had „the topic has not been considered for a long time.“

Danger also comes from domestic cats
But not only mice and rats are responsible for the spread. „A significant risk can be in the domestic range of cats“, so Matushka. „There are at least ten million domestic cats in Germany, plus two to three million stray cats.“ Pets, which are popular with ticks, usually have close contact with humans and sometimes even sleep in bed with them. „Especially dangerous is that ticks spotted by the cats can instantly infect humans with Borrelia, which usually takes one to two days. So, unlike after a walk, there is hardly time to remove the parasites in time.“

Consistent waste management required
The two experts therefore demand consistent waste management. „If the table is richly covered in parks for rodents such as mice and rats or even birds, such as blackbirds, then the risk of ticks for humans increases“, so Matushka. „But there is no reason for panic or even hysteria“, said his colleague. „We do not want to keep people out of the garden, that should not be the goal.“ After all, one could protect oneself against a tick attack, explained Matuschka. For example, you should avoid areas with undergrowth or high grass and check your clothes and skin for ticks after a stay in the countryside. During the walk, it is advisable to put your trouser legs in the socks and to use repellent. If you find ticks, you should remove them and thoroughly disinfect the puncture site. Helpful is a special tick tweezers or so-called tick card.

Ticks transmit various pathogens
By a tick bite different pathogens can be transmitted. According to estimates, up to 200,000 people nationwide annually become infected with Lyme borreliosis, which is one of the bacterial infectious diseases. In addition to the flushing, which does not occur in all patients, the signs of the disease include general symptoms such as fatigue, night sweats, fever or nonspecific joint and muscle pain. More dangerous, however, is the TBE. „Nationwide, the number of reported FSME cases is usually 300 to 400 per year“, said the biologist Susanne Glasmacher, press spokesman of the RKI. The possibilities of treatment after infection are rather limited. Even if the flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache or vomiting can be alleviated, the disease itself can not be specifically treated. But unlike Lyme disease, there is a vaccine against TBE. A few years ago, another germ was discovered, which is transmitted by ticks. „In recent years, there have been some cases in Europe of tick-borne neuropathiosis. The pathogen can lead to strokes and probably also heart attack“, so Matushka. (Ad)