Increase in borreliosis infections, but so far no case of FSME
Ticks are transmitters of dangerous infectious diseases. Some of them can have serious consequences. In the southwest of Germany this year, more illnesses have been caused by tick bites than in 2016. But such fluctuations are not uncommon.
Ticks can transmit dangerous diseases
Ticks are not only lurking in the woods and meadows, they also feel good in the garden. They are also very common in some cities. The small bloodsuckers can transmit dangerous infectious diseases such as tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) or Lyme disease. Of the latter, especially many cases have become known in Southwest Germany this year.
More Lyme Disease
According to a news agency dpa, tick bites triggered more Lyme disease in Rhineland-Palatinate this year than in 2016.
According to a report from the State Office of Inquiry (LUA) in Koblenz, there were 769 cases from the beginning of the year until mid-September, 31 more than in the same period last year.
However, as Philipp Zanger of the State Investigation Office (LUA) explained, these fluctuations are normal.
Europe's most common tick-borne disease
"Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disease in Europe," the LUA writes on its website.
According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), between five and 35 percent of the ticks are infected with Borrelia, the bacterial causative agent of Lyme borreliosis.
The risk of infection with Borrelia exists - in contrast to the FSME - in all parts of Germany.
The disease Lyme disease begins in humans symptomatically often with the so-called Erythema migrans around the tick bite.
Diagnosis is often difficult
Symptoms may include redness, fever, muscle and headache. Some complaints can occur only after months.
As Zanger explained in the dpa report, paralysis symptoms could occur in the worst case in a chronic neuro-borreliosis.
Lyme disease should be treated with antibiotics as soon as possible. However, the diagnosis is often difficult, especially when no wandering occurs.
There is no vaccine against the disease.
Not a single TBE case in Rhineland-Palatinate
Much rarer is the virus disease FSME, which is also transmitted by ticks. This occurs almost exclusively in southern Germany.
"One finds TBE risk areas in Baden-Wuerttemberg and Bavaria as well as in the southern Hessen and in individual counties in Thuringia. In Rhineland-Palatinate, the Birkenfeld district has been considered a risk area for several years, "writes the LUA.
However, according to the LUA, there was not a single case this year in Rhineland-Palatinate.
Important to know: Not every tick bite leads to an infection, but in about every third infected symptoms occur, first fever and flu-like symptoms.
Some patients also develop meningitis and encephalitis with the risk of spinal cord damage. In extreme cases, the disease is fatal.
There are no drugs available against TBE itself, only the symptoms can be treated.
However, there is a vaccine against TBE. The Standing Vaccination Commission (STIKO) and other health professionals recommend vaccination coverage to people who often spend time outdoors in TBE risk areas.
Protect against tick bites
Health experts repeatedly point out how to protect yourself from annoying ticks.
When staying in nature, it is recommended to wear sturdy shoes and long trousers that are put into the socks. Also special insect sprays can keep the small animals away.
After a trip in the woods, meadows or heavily overgrown streams, one should search the clothes and the whole body for ticks, especially the back of the knees, groin and armpits
If you notice a tick on the body, you should remove it as quickly as possible with tweezers, a pair of ticks or a tick card.
If the animal has already sucked in, it is important that "as far as possible all parts of the tick are removed in order to avoid an inflammation", writes the RKI on its website. (Ad)