TBE: ticks are active in spring

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Scientists warn of TBE and tick-borne disease

Ticks become active from a temperature of around six degrees. The eight-legged friends normally hibernate from November to February. However, due to the mild winter, they were alive earlier than usual this year. As a result, the ticks spread further, so that scientists are now warning of Lyme disease and early summer meningoencephalitis (TBE).

Tick ​​activity increases According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), 420 TBE cases were registered last year. In 2012 there were only 195 people affected. “However, the long-term statistics show that the risk of TBE has risen continuously, even if there are fluctuations in the year. Seen in this way, the tick remains Germany's most dangerous animal, ”explains parasitologist Ute Mackenstedt from the University of Hohenheim.

"This winter we measured activity almost continuously at our tick stations across Germany," explains Dr. Olaf Kahl, managing director of the information platform Zeckenwetter.de. The likelihood of the animals spreading further is high and could be associated with more cases of Lyme disease and TBE.

According to the RKI, the risk of a TBE infection from a tick bite is between 1:50 and 1: 100. Most people develop flu-like symptoms after about ten days. "In about a third of the patients, after a temporary improvement, the fever rises again and the second phase of the disease", reports Prof. Dr. Uta Meyding-Lamadé, chief physician at the Neurological Clinic of the Nordwest Hospital in Frankfurt am Main. While patients with mild courses primarily suffered from headaches, severe courses would involve the spinal cord and brain. "The symptoms include coordination disorders, paralysis, speech and speech disorders as well as impaired consciousness and epileptic seizures," said the doctor. TBE has a fatal outcome in one percent of those affected. “Once the disease has broken out, only the symptoms can be treated. However, vaccination can be carried out preventively, which provides protection within a few weeks and is well tolerated for children and adults, ”says Meyding-Lamadé.

However, no vaccination is currently available for Lyme disease. With timely therapy with an antibiotic, the chances of recovery are good. Experts advise you to protect yourself from tick bites with body-covering clothing and to search your body thoroughly after spending time outdoors. If an animal is discovered, quick action is advisable. “The ticks should be removed as quickly as possible, for example with tweezers or a tick card. This is particularly important for the transmission of Lyme disease, since the longer the tick sucks, the higher the risk, ”reports the doctor. (ag)

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