Rising TBE risk: infections from ticks have increased further

More and more TBE infections from ticks

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) recently reported that TBE risk areas in Germany are increasing rapidly. There was also an increase in TBE infections from ticks. Health experts are calling on certain people to get vaccinated. But there are also other ways to protect yourself from the crawling animals.

Carrier of dangerous diseases

Health experts keep pointing out how important it is to protect yourself from ticks. The little bloodsuckers can finally transmit dangerous infectious diseases such as Lyme disease or early summer meningoencephalitis (TBE). While the former is widespread nationwide, the latter is limited to certain regions of the republic. However, the TBE risk areas have increased significantly in the recent past, as the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) recently reported in the Epidemiological Bulletin.

Significantly more TBE diseases

Ticks infected with early summer meningoencephalitis (TBE) spread.

According to a message from the Hamburg Barmer Krankenkasse, a total of 505 TBE diseases were recorded in Germany in 2017, compared to just 359 in the previous year. This corresponded to an increase of 40 percent.

In Hamburg itself there was only one documented FMSE infection last year.

"But the danger of being infected by ticks in traditional holiday areas remains for the people of Hamburg," warns Frank Liedtke, Managing Director of Barmer in the Hanseatic city.

In Germany, especially in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, in southern Hesse, in southeastern Thuringia and in Saxony, there is a risk of being infected with the TBE virus by tick bites.

And there is also a high TBE risk in typical holiday countries such as Austria, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and northern Italy.

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.

Vaccination for people from risk groups

Vaccination against the disease is available. Vaccination protection is recommended by the Standing Vaccination Committee (STIKO) and other health experts for people who are often outside in TBE risk areas.

This can also make sense for holidaymakers: "Parents should have themselves and their children vaccinated against TBE if they want to go on vacation in a risk area," says Liedtke.

"If you are not sure whether the TBE vaccination is really necessary, you should speak to your family doctor or pediatrician in a specific case," advises the expert.

To achieve full vaccination protection, three vaccinations are usually required. A second takes place one to three months after the first vaccination, and a third takes place up to twelve months later.

Vaccination protection then lasts for at least three years and, according to Barmer, leads to complete protection in 99 percent of those vaccinated.

This is how you protect yourself from tick bites

To protect themselves from tick bites, experts recommend common mosquito repellants that contain the ingredients DEET or Icaridin. These make humans uninteresting as prey.

In addition, long clothing and sturdy footwear should be worn, for example when hiking or walking through tall grass.

Very important: "After outdoor activities, you should search the body thoroughly for ticks, especially soft and warm areas such as armpits, hollow of the knees or groin," emphasizes Frank Liedtke.

Do not irritate ticks unnecessarily when removing them

If you notice ticks on your body, you need to be in a hurry. 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 Robert Koch Institute (RKI) on its website.

"To do this, grasp 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 may 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. (ad)

Author and source information

Video: Infectious Diseases A-Z: Prevent illness by preventing tick bites (May 2021).