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Dangerous bathing fun: excessive heat causes bacteria to spread in the Baltic Sea


Bacteria in the Baltic Sea: People from risk groups should be careful

Due to the high temperatures, vibrations in the water are currently increasing in the Baltic Sea. In some people, these bacteria can cause serious infections. In addition, cercariae can currently be expected in some waters in northeastern Germany. And blue-green algae blooms can also occur.

The first case with a fatal outcome

With the higher temperatures now prevailing, vibrations can occur in the Baltic Sea, which in rare cases can lead to serious infections. "There was a first case with a fatal outcome at the weekend of a 70-year-old man with chronic previous illnesses," wrote the State Office for Health and Social Affairs (LAGuS) Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania in a current announcement.

Bathers from risk groups can be at risk

Vibrion infection was reported to LAGuS in 2017, and three in 2016. A vacationer had died four years ago after suffering from such a bacterial infection.

According to the experts, very few bathers are at risk from vibrations.

The risk of illness essentially exists for people with chronic basic illnesses (e.g. liver diseases, alcohol dependence, diabetes mellitus) or with existing immune deficiency (e.g. after transplants or with an existing HIV infection) as well as people of older age.

"If bathers belong to these risk groups and there are skin injuries, there should be no contact with sea or brackish water," warns the LAGuS.

Bacteria can get into the body through wounds

As the experts explain, superficial and deep skin injuries are the main entry points for infections with vibrions in the Baltic Sea region.

The bacteria get into the body when bathing or wading in excitement-rich Baltic Sea water. Wound infections associated with profound necrosis play the major role in the region.

Based on this, a so-called sepsis (blood poisoning) with the settlement of other parts of the body, fever and chills can develop very quickly.

According to the information, the infection is characterized by a rapid course with a high mortality rate. Decisive for the prognosis is the early initiation of adequate antibiotic therapy.

Cercariae and blue-green algae in inland waters

Furthermore, the LAGuS points out in its communication that cercariae (larvae of suction worms) can also be expected in the shallow bank areas of some Mecklenburg inland waters.

These can cause a so-called bath dermatitis (cercaria dermatitis), which results in a rash with extremely itchy pustules and wheals.

In addition, due to the weather, it cannot be ruled out that blue algae blooms will occur locally.

According to experts, the toxins produced by the algae can lead to health problems if they come into contact or if they are swallowed. (ad)

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