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Rise in TBE cases: experts call for vaccination
In Baden-Württemberg, almost twice as many people contracted tick-borne infectious disease TBE (early summer meningoencephalitis) as in the previous year. Almost the entire region is at risk. Experts therefore call for getting vaccinated.
The number of TBE cases has almost doubled
Last year, significantly more people in Baden-Württemberg suffered from tick-borne meningitis than early summer meningoencephalitis. According to a message from the Techniker Krankenkasse (TK), the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), with a total of 116 patients, had almost twice as many victims as in 2015 when a total of 60 people became infected. The reason for the increase is the vaccination fatigue of many people in the southwest.
Most people become infected during leisure activities
"According to the RKI, the vaccination rate in Baden-Württemberg is inadequate, as feared, the numbers rose again quickly because the ecological and climatic factors were favorable for this," explained Andreas Vogt, head of the TK state representative for Baden-Württemberg.
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.
As the dpa news agency reports, the health insurance company and the state health authority called for vaccinations. Because with the exception of the district of Heilbronn, the entire southwest is a risk area.
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. This is particularly large here, said a spokeswoman for the State Health Office in Stuttgart.
Nationwide, the number of cases rose from 219 to 342 in 2016. With 159 people affected, there were the most infections in Bavaria. There and in Baden-Württemberg there are 123 of the 142 districts in Germany that are currently classified as TBE risk areas.
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.
If you notice ticks on the body, you should quickly remove them with adhesive tape. If the animal has already sucked in, it is important not to press the blood sac when removing it, as this may cause infectious saliva or intestinal contents to enter the bloodstream. (ad)