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More and more TBE diseases from ticks: experts call for vaccination


Number of TBE cases transmitted by tick bites increased significantly

For the second year in a row, significantly more people in Baden-Württemberg have contracted the tick-borne infectious disease TBE (early summer meningoencephalitis). According to experts, the number of people affected has increased by around 50 percent. Experts call for vaccinations.

Number of TBE cases increased by around 50 percent

Last year, significantly more people in Baden-Württemberg contracted the tick-borne infectious disease of early summer meningoencephalitis (TBE) than in the previous year. According to a message from the dpa news agency, the state representative of the Techniker Krankenkasse (TK) in Freiburg announced that the number of people affected had increased by around 50 percent. In comparison to 2015, it even tripled. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) counted 178 patients nationwide in 2017, 58 more than in 2016. In 2015 there were 61 infected people. The reason for the increase is the vaccination fatigue of many people in the southwest.

Most people become infected during leisure activities

Last year, Andreas Vogt, head of the TK state representative office in Baden-Württemberg, stated in a message: "As the vaccination rate in Baden-Württemberg is insufficient according to the RKI, as feared, the numbers rose again quickly because of the ecological-climatic factors were cheap for it. "

According to TK, the number of TBE cases depends, among other things, on the vaccination rate, the spread of ticks in the respective year and the number of days that people can be outside due to the weather.

According to doctors, 90 percent of TBE sufferers become infected during leisure activities. The disease can be particularly severe 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, around ten percent also develop meningitis and cerebral inflammation with the risk of permanent damage such as paralysis. The disease leads to death in one to two percent of sufferers.

Almost the entire southwest of Germany is a risk area

"Anyone who likes to be out in nature, even if only in the garden or park, should make provisions," says Vogt.

According to the RKI, the vaccination rate in the southwest is insufficient. According to an older survey, not even every third Baden-Württemberg citizen is completely vaccinated against TBE.

The State Health Office and the health insurance company called for vaccinations. As can be seen from an overview of the TBE risk areas of the RKI, there is everywhere in the southwest - with the exception of the Heilbronn district - the risk of becoming infected.

According to Vogt, vaccination should take place in good time before early summer, as there must be time between the three vaccination appointments. In addition, a higher sensitivity to the danger is necessary.

Protection from ticks

In addition to TBE, ticks can also transmit Lyme disease. No vaccination protects against this infectious disease, but it can be treated with antibiotics.

The basic rule is to protect yourself as well as possible from ticks. For example, it makes sense to put your pants in your socks when you are out in the undergrowth and to wear long-sleeved clothing. Special insect sprays can keep the little animals away.

Hurry after a tick bite. The animal should be removed as soon as possible.

It is important that "as far as possible all parts of the tick are removed to avoid inflammation," writes the RKI on its website.

"To do this, grab the tick with a pair of tweezers or a special tick removal tool near the surface of the skin, i.e. on your mouth tools (never on the fully soaked body!) And pull it slowly and straight out of your skin," it continues.

The tick should "not be rotated as far as possible and under no circumstances should it be drizzled with oil or adhesive before removal. This would irritate the animal unnecessarily and could lead to its saliva and thus possible infectious agents being released ”.

After the tick has been removed, careful disinfection of the wound is recommended.

According to health experts, you don't have to go to the doctor after every tick bite. Overall, the risk of contracting Lyme disease or TBE is low.

However, if you notice after the bite of a tick that there is reddening of the skin at the injection site, you should seek medical help immediately. Because this is an indication of Lyme disease.

If you are not sure about redness after an insect bite or insect bite, you can compare it with pictures of the so-called Erythema migrans on the Internet. (ad)

Author and source information

Video: Tick-Borne Disease Working Group TBDWG Meeting. February 2018. Breakout Session 5 (August 2020).