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Ticks love mild weather
Summer is back and many people spend their time outdoors. But be careful: The damp weather in recent months has increased the risk of getting seriously ill from tick bites.
TBE pathogens near the Arctic Circle Moist weather in Germany for months and the resulting rather late beginning of summer caused the tick population to explode, thereby helping to increase the dangers of early summer meningoencephalitis (TBE) or Lyme disease in many areas of Germany are. In Germany, ticks are often active throughout the winter. According to experts, more than 15,000 TBE diseases can be expected in Europe each year. TBE-infected ticks have already been found in Finland 200 kilometers south of the Arctic Circle.
Strong regional differences There are strong regional differences in Germany. For example, the health department in Uelzen, Lower Saxony, warned that almost every third tick is now infected with the Lyme disease pathogen. For the Altmarkkreis Salzwedel in Saxony-Anhalt, Dr. Peter Wiesner of the Altmark newspaper did not confirm such figures. According to Wiesner, only one case of Lyme disease and no case of TBE is known in the region for 2013. Dr. Daniel Ecker, senior physician of neurology at the Biberach district clinic in Baden-Württemberg, explains the situation in the south: "Both diseases play a role in Biberach, we belong to the risk area here."
TBE vaccination Even in regions where the risk of infection is rather low, it is important to protect yourself, as the consequences can be devastating. Neurologist Frank Erbguth from the Nuremberg Clinic explained that in contrast to Lyme disease, which can be treated with antibiotics, only symptoms can be alleviated with TBE. Only vaccination offers almost complete protection. Erbguth therefore advises: “If you want to be safe, you should do it.” Vaccination offers protection for up to 50 years old and up to five years for younger people. And even though the vaccination morale tends to decrease in older people, around 16 to 20 percent of people in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg have made provision for it. In the two federal states there is one of the highest threats in Germany.
Bright clothes help Lyme disease can remain without symptoms for a long time, so that complaints that arise do not necessarily have to be associated with the tick bite. Typical flu symptoms can occur: headache, fever, joint pain, fatigue. Since a vaccination is not possible, Wiesner advises against prevention: “Light clothing helps because ticks are easier to recognize and because light clothing does not produce as much heat. Heat magically attracts ticks. "
Speed does not help with TBE If you spot a tick bite, you should act quickly. Wiesner recommends: “The tick should be removed as early and as completely as possible.” After eight hours and at the latest after 30 hours, the tick had injected sufficient amounts of bacteria into the body. The course of the disease in Lyme disease can extend over months. Sometimes the symptoms only appear after years. According to Wiesner, only “basic chemical cleaning” will help. ”The disease can be overcome with high-dose antibiotics. However, he emphasized: "Of course, this has strong side effects." In contrast, the rapid removal does not help against TBE. The pathogens sit in the tick's salivary glands and, when stung, reach the human body immediately.
Image: Bernd Lang / pixelio.de