Ticks The risk of ticks increases
The time of the ticks begins
In the past year, far fewer patients in Germany became ill with TBE than in 2013. The infectious disease is transmitted by ticks, which transmit the viruses with a tick bite. However, there is no all-clear. Especially in the south of Germany, the ticks are very active. According to experts, „Now the tick time starts“.
Spring is just around the corner and not only attracts sun worshipers to the outdoors. In the face of rising temperatures, the ticks will be active again. Especially in the risk areas of southern Germany, people who live there in nature and could come in contact with the small arachnids, should be vaccinated against FSME. According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), 265 people in Germany contracted the tick-borne brain inflammation last year. Compared to 2013, however, the number of tick-borne encephalitis decreased. At that time 420 people were affected in this country.
Ticks become active again from six degrees
The numbers fluctuated from year to year, explained RKI spokeswoman Susanne Glasmacher. Among other things, it depends on the weather, how many people were in nature. When temperatures climb to six degrees during the day, the ticks become active again. Statements about this year's stocks are difficult to make, as they are heavily dependent on the weather. Thus, a prolonged dryness leads to the decimation of the small bloodsucker. The number of mice, the main host animal for the young tick, also plays a crucial role.
Not every tick carries the pathogen for TBE. According to the RKI, risk areas are mainly Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, southern Hesse and southeastern Thuringia. The Vogtlandkreis in Saxony was also designated as a danger area. For regions such as Berlin and Brandenburg, however, Glasmacher gives the all-clear. It was not expected that these areas would be upgraded to high-risk regions.
Ticks can transmit FSME
In 2014, the majority of FSME cases were reported in Bavaria (123) and Baden-Württemberg (95). In Hesse 18 and in Saxony 15 people fell ill with TBE. In the other federal states, a maximum of three cases were reported, whereby the country of registration corresponds to the place of residence of the person concerned and not to the place of infection. In 2012, 195 TBE cases were registered nationwide, in 2011 424 and in 2010 260 affected patients.
The TBE pathogens are transmitted through the tick bite. As the animal sucks blood, it secretes the virus with its saliva. Those who live in the risk areas, working or vacationing and could come into contact with ticks, should be vaccinated against expert advice against FSME. While there are usually good vaccination rates for children in the affected regions, adults are less likely to be vaccinated, although the infection is much more dangerous in adulthood.
TBE can lead to permanent damage to health, such as paralysis due to spinal cord injury, in severe disease progression. In rare cases, the disease is fatal.
No vaccine against Lyme disease
In addition to TBE, ticks can also transmit Lyme disease. However, there is no vaccine against the pathogen or special risk areas. Mostly, the infection is indicated by a red circle at the site of the tick bite. Especially in children, a Borrelia infection can also be associated with atypical symptoms that are initially not recognizable externally. Parents should thoroughly check their children for ticks after playing in nature.
If a Lyme disease is not treated, initially muscle and joint pain and fever may occur. The late effects include joint, heart muscle or nerve inflammation. (Ag)> Image: Thorben Wengert