Dangerous tropical fever from bush mosquitoes


West Nile fever: tropical fever caused by bush mosquitoes in Greece. Travelers should take special care to protect themselves from mosquitos, as these are considered to be carriers.

(08/12/2010) The West Nile fever, which is actually predominantly prevalent in the tropics and subtropics, has also been observed in parts of the USA, Canada and occasionally in Europe. Currently, a veritable West Nile fever wave has occurred in Thessaloniki (Greece), which according to the Center for Travel Medicine (CRM) has already affected 22 people. The disease is mainly transmitted by mosquitoes, so the various specialist journals call Greece travelers to protect themselves appropriately to prevent infection. There are no vaccines for preventive treatment against West Nile fever.

According to the experts, the "conspicuous accumulation" of cases in Thessaloniki is worrying, according to the scientific director of CRM, Tomas Jelinek. Only consistent mosquito repellent, ideally with light, long-sleeved clothing and repellents (insect repellent) with the active ingredient dieythyl-m-toluamide (DEET) on uncovered parts of the body offer effective remedies here. Especially after dusk, travelers are asked to protect themselves accordingly. If the windows are open, a mosquito net with a maximum hole size of 1.5 millimeters should be attached, according to the expert. If someone has been bitten by an infected mosquito, it takes three to six days for the symptoms of West Nile fever to appear. Fever, muscle pain and swelling of the lymph nodes are usually the first noticeable signs of an illness.

Rashes on the chest, back and arms follow in about 30 percent of patients, and some also suffer from meningitis or meningitis. Of the people affected in Thessaloniki, all 22 were brought to hospital with meningitis or meningitis, with three elderly patients not surviving the disease. Actually, "only every 500th patient (...) has serious complaints," says the specialist Jelinek, but West Nile fever poses a considerable risk, especially for older people.

The risk of infection by exotic mosquitoes has increased significantly across Europe in recent years. While they hardly differ from their native counterparts on the outside, dangerous viruses can lurk inside, says Pie Müller, mosquito specialist at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute. Müller investigates the occurrence of exotic mosquitoes in Switzerland on behalf of his institute and has found that e.g. B. The Asian bush mosquito is now also widespread in Switzerland. It can also be the carrier of the West Nile fever described above.

According to the expert, it is difficult to determine which and how many exotic mosquito species are already in our latitudes. The only thing that is certain is that they are here. So z. In northern Italy, several people were infected with Chikungunya fever by the Asian tiger mosquito, which subsequently caused more than 200 people to fall ill. In the tropics, the tiger mosquito is known as a carrier of numerous diseases such as Yellow fever, dengue or chikungunya virus. In the meantime, however, it has not only become at home in northern Italy, where every year attempts are made to get the problem under control with massive helicopter spraying operations, it was also spotted by mosquito researchers on the German Upper Rhine plain in 2007.

The experts call for general monitoring of the spread of mosquitoes as an effective basis for combating and in order to be able to better assess the hazard potential. Because not only the tiger mosquito carries dangerous pathogens. For example, Employees of the German Bernhard Nocht Institute in Baden-Württemberg detect three types of mosquitoes that carry the Sindbis virus (also known as the rheumatism virus), which can have similarly serious consequences for those affected as West Nile fever.

Migratory birds are also considered to be a source of danger in this context, as they, as potential carriers of West Nile fever, can be bitten by a mosquito, which then transmits the disease to a person. In particular, the experts consider the large rest areas on the routes of migratory birds, such as the Alsatian recreation area Petite Camargue Alsacienne with growing concern and have already made the first attempts to use biological control measures to combat mosquito multiplication. (fp)

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