Increase in Lyme infections, but so far no case of TBE

More cases of Lyme disease due to tick bites, no case of TBE
Ticks are carriers of dangerous infectious diseases. In southwestern Germany, more diseases from tick bites have apparently occurred this year than in 2016. However, such fluctuations are not uncommon.

Ticks can transmit dangerous diseases
Ticks don't just lurk in the forest and meadows, they also feel good in the garden. They are also very common in some cities. The small bloodsuckers can transmit dangerous infectious diseases such as early summer meningoencephalitis (TBE) or Lyme disease. Many of the latter have become known this year in southwestern Germany.

More Lyme Diseases
According to a message from the dpa news agency, tick bites have caused more Lyme disease in Rhineland-Palatinate this year than in 2016.

According to a statement by the State Investigation Office (LUA) in Koblenz, there were 769 cases from the beginning of the year to mid-September, 31 more than in the same period last year.

However, as Philipp Zanger of the State Investigation Office (LUA) explained, these fluctuations are normal.

The most common tick-borne disease in Europe
"Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disease in Europe," wrote the LUA on its website.

According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), between five and 35 percent of ticks are infected with Borrelia, the bacterial pathogen of Lyme disease.

In contrast to the TBE, there is a risk of infection with Borrelia in all parts of Germany.

In humans, Lyme disease often begins symptomatically with the so-called reddening (erythema migrans) around the tick bite.

Diagnosis is often difficult
Symptoms can include reddening of the skin, fever, muscle and headache. Some complaints can only appear after months.

As Zanger explained in the dpa report, in the worst case, chronic neuro-borreliosis could lead to paralysis.

Lyme disease should be treated with antibiotics as early as possible. However, the diagnosis is often difficult, especially if there is no reddening.

There is no vaccine against the disease.

Not a single TBE case in Rhineland-Palatinate
The virus disease TBE, which is also transmitted by ticks, is much less common. This occurs almost exclusively in southern Germany.

“TBE risk areas can be found in Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria as well as in southern Hesse and in isolated districts in Thuringia. In Rhineland-Palatinate, the Birkenfeld district has been a risk area for a number of years, ”wrote the LUA.

However, according to the LUA, there was not a single case in Rhineland-Palatinate this year.

Important to know: Not every tick bite leads to an infection, but symptoms appear in about every third infected person, initially fever and flu-like symptoms.

Some patients also develop meningitis and cerebral inflammation with the risk of spinal cord damage. In extreme cases, the disease is fatal.

No drugs are available against TBE itself, only the symptoms can be treated.

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

Protect from tick bites
Health experts keep pointing out how to protect yourself from annoying ticks.

When staying outdoors, it is recommended to wear sturdy shoes and long trousers that are stuck in the socks. Special insect sprays can also keep the little animals away.

After an excursion in the forest, meadow or along heavily overgrown streams, one should search for clothing and the whole body for ticks, especially the back of the knees, groin area, and elbows
and scalp.

If you notice a tick on the body, you should remove it as soon as possible with tweezers, tick pliers or a tick card.

If the animal has already sucked in, it is important that "as far as possible all parts of the tick are removed to avoid inflammation," writes the RKI on its website. (ad)

Author and source information

Video: Distinguishing The Signs u0026 Symptoms of COVID-19 from Acute Lyme Disease. Johns Hopkins Rheumatology (January 2022).