Tick-risk in southern Germany very high
First South German tick congress: highest risk of ticks in southern Germany
This week the first South German tick congress takes place in Stuttgart. Just in time for the beginning of this year's ticks season, interested parties can inform themselves at the congress about all questions about the blood-sucking arachnids, the illnesses transmitted by them and the possible protective measures.
Under the scientific direction of Prof. Dr. med. Ute Mackenstedt from the University of Hohenheim will be hosting the first South German Tick Congress on 21 and 22 March in the Stuttgart Castle. For good reason, the event is specifically dedicated to southern Germany, as here the health risks of a tick bite are particularly high. As the professor from the University of Hohenheim explained, the southwest remains the number one risk area in Germany. According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), of the 137 reported risk areas in which ticks can transmit the so-called tick-borne encephalitis (TBE), 120 are in Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria.
Tick bites more common in southern Germany than in the north
Regarding the health risks after a tick bite exists according to statement of Prof. Dr. med. Ute Mackenstedt a clear south-north divide. That's how it happened „Of the more than 400 FSME cases in 2011, over 85 percent in southern Germany“, emphasized the scientific director of the first Southern German tick congress. In addition to Lyme disease, tick-borne encephalitis is one of the main health hazards of a tick bite. While a borreliosis infection can usually be treated relatively well with antibiotics at an early diagnosis, the TBE caused by viruses is usually only concomitantly treatable.
Overall, the health consequences of FSME are much more serious than with Lyme disease and also much harder to treat, said the expert. In the initial stage of TBE, sufferers often suffer from flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, chronic fatigue, indigestion, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting. After this first phase with numerous symptoms, there is usually a symptom-free period of up to two weeks, which often gives the impression that the disease has already been overcome. However, this is followed by a second phase of the disease, in the course of which, in addition to the original symptoms, further significant health problems, such as impairments of the neuronal system, motor disorders, dizziness, speech disorders, emotional disorders, etc., may occur. Also, paralysis, breathing problems and disturbances of consciousness are not uncommon in this second phase of FSME. However, unlike Lyme disease, FSME has the potential to be protected from disease by a preventive vaccine.
Significant increase of ticks
Overall, the „Number and distribution of ticks“ According to the assessment of the head of the first Southern German tick congress, this has increased significantly in recent years. Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria are affected in a special way. However, not all regions have the risk of TBE after a tick bite. Because within the federal states it depends on the landscape form, how widespread the „Common wood buck“ (95 percent of the ticks belong to this genus). While the risks of a tick bite in the parks are rather low, the small bloodsuckers are more likely to occur in the shady wooded areas or on wild meadows, explained Prof. Dr. med. Ute Mackenstedt. The expert pointed out that the activity of the ticks will increase for now until June, until the parasites then sting a little less often in the particularly hot and dry summer months. A further high phase of the tick activity is to be expected afterwards in the autumn.
Simple protective measures minimize the risk
As a protective measure against tick bites, according to the head of the first Southern German "tick congress" body-covering clothing with tight cuffs on socks, trouser legs and sleeves is recommended. Also, walkers could pull their socks over their pants to make it difficult for the tiny bloodsuckers to access the free skin. After a stay outdoors or a trip to nature, the whole body should be thoroughly checked for ticks, says Prof. Dr. med. Ute Mackenstedt on. If an attached tick is discovered, it must be removed as quickly as possible, since only a few pathogens can be transmitted within the first 24 hours after the bite. To remove the animals offers tweezers or a so-called ticks. However, with the widely used supposed home remedies, the desired effect can not be achieved here, the expert continues. „It persists in the rumor that they should suffocate them with glue or oil. Everything please not! ", Emphasized Prof. Dr. Mackenstedt, because in this way only the risk of an infection is increased because the animals emptying their stomach contents into the puncture wound and so more bacteria and viruses get into the human organism.
Basically „Lyme disease is much more common than TBE“, so the statement of Prof. dr. Ute Mackenstedt. About one third of the small bloodsuckers carry the Lyme disease pathogens. After a tick bite, therefore, a borreliosis test is urgently recommended because the Lyme disease can be treated with promising early diagnosis. Although the TBE-triggering viruses can be detected in significantly fewer ticks, the health risk should not be underestimated here. Even patients who have received a TBE vaccine, the expert advises to visit a doctor at the latest two to four weeks after a tick bite, to check for a possibly present TBE. (Fp)
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