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Increased number of TBE cases: Already prepare for the next tick season
In Bavaria, a new record was reached for tick-borne early summer meningoencephalitis (TBE). The state health minister is now campaigning for timely vaccinations.
Ticks transmit dangerous diseases
Health experts reported a few months ago that TBE infections from ticks in Germany have increased significantly. This also applies to Bavaria: “So far, 189 FSME cases have been reported in Bavaria this year. That is seven cases more than in the comparative period in 2017 - and more cases than ever since the introduction of mandatory reporting in 2001, ”said Bavarian Minister of Health Melanie Huml in a statement. In view of the new record, the politician is promoting timely vaccinations.
Too few freshmen are vaccinated
"Anyone who gets vaccinated against TBE can prevent dangerous meningitis," said the minister, who is a trained doctor.
“Currently, however, only about a third of those starting school in Bavaria are vaccinated against TBE. Complete vaccination protection requires three vaccinations within one year, ”said Huml.
“Whoever starts now is prepared for the next tick season in spring. Another vaccination is required every three to five years to maintain protection. ”
In extreme cases, infection can be fatal
TBE can be particularly difficult in older people. Symptoms appear in about a third of those infected.
First, there are flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, vomiting and dizziness.
According to doctors, some patients also develop meningitis and cerebral inflammation with the risk of damage to the spinal cord. In extreme cases, the disease is fatal.
No drugs are available against TBE itself, only the symptoms can be treated.
More cases of Lyme disease reported
According to the communication from the ministry, the State Office for Health and Food Safety (LGL) reported that significantly more Lyme disease diseases among people in the Free State in 2018 than in previous years.
Specifically, 4,469 cases were reported - in the same period last year there were only 2,989 cases (reporting weeks 1 to 41).
"Lyme disease is an infectious disease that can lead to painful inflammation, for example of nerves or joints, even weeks after the tick bite," explained Huml.
"It is important to make a diagnosis as early as possible, then the disease is easy to treat. Therefore, a doctor should be consulted quickly if there are indications of this, ”said the Minister of Health.
Blushing indicates illness
Not every tick bite causes Lyme disease, but if you notice a blush (a ring-shaped reddening around the tick bite) after a stay in the countryside, you should definitely see a doctor - even if you haven't noticed any of the creepy crawlies.
"The occurrence of borrelia in ticks fluctuates very strongly both regionally and in small areas and can be up to 30%," writes the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) on its website.
According to the experts, scientific studies have shown that around five percent of people bitten by a tick become infected with Borrelia.
"Only a very small proportion of those infected, around one percent, develop symptoms of the disease," says the RKI.
Nevertheless, it is important to remove ticks as quickly as possible and with a suitable tool.
Protection through vaccination is not possible
Signs of Lyme disease include general symptoms such as fatigue, night sweats, fever and non-specific joint and muscle pain.
If the disease remains undetected and untreated, it can lead to chronic damage to the heart, nerves and joints, and in the worst case, to death.
Vaccination cannot protect you against Lyme disease. However, the disease can be treated well with antibiotics. (ad)