State Health Office: Significantly more Lyme disease and TBE cases from tick bites

State Health Office: Significantly more Lyme disease and TBE cases from tick bites

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The number of Lyme disease and TBE cases caused by tick bites is increasing
Many ticks are active this summer. The small bloodsuckers can transmit dangerous infectious diseases such as early summer meningoencephalitis (TBE) or Lyme disease. The number of cases of these diseases is already quite high.

Many ticks on the way
Ticks are dangerous carriers of the disease. The small parasites can transmit infectious diseases such as early summer meningoencephalitis (TBE) or Lyme disease. Due to the mild winter and the warm, humid spring, many ticks are on the road this year. The higher the number of bloodsuckers, the greater the risk of illness.

Significantly more cases of illness than in the previous year
This is now also shown by new data from Bavaria. The number of tick-borne cases in the Free State has risen significantly this year. As the dpa news agency reports, the State Office of Health (LGL) in Erlangen had already registered over 2,600 infections with Lyme disease by the end of the first week in August - 40 percent more than in the same period in 2015. The number of TBE cases was therefore already around 100 - 26 percent more than in the previous year.

According to a spokeswoman for the LGL, this is an "expected fluctuation over the course of the reporting years". In 2013, for example, the number of Lyme disease cases in the same period was significantly higher at around 3,080, even though the reporting obligation in Bavaria was only introduced in early March that year. In 2014 and 2015 the numbers were around 1,800.

Lyme disease can be treated with medication
Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne infectious disease. Signs of the disease include general symptoms such as fatigue, night sweats, fever and non-specific joint and muscle pain.

The so-called "rash" - a red ring that forms around the tick bite - is a 100 percent symptom, but only occurs in half of the patients. The disease can be combated by taking antibiotics, otherwise it can lead to long-term consequences such as inflammation of the joints, heart muscle or nerves.

TBE can be fatal
A few years ago, the number of TBE cases was similar to that of this year. In 2014 and 2015, however, only between 70 and 80 cases were registered. TBEs are caused by viruses. After infection, inflammation of the meninges, brain or spinal cord can occur. 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. There are no medications for the treatment, but you can get vaccinated against it.

Protect from ticks
It is best to protect yourself from ticks to avoid infections. Ideally, you should stay on the trails for walks. When hiking, you should always remember to wear long trousers and, if necessary, put your legs in your socks. Special sprays, so-called repellents, can also keep the crawling animals away. In addition, one should search thoroughly for stays in nature and, if necessary, react quickly.

Previously recommended methods should not be used
Hurry after a tick bite. The tick should be removed as soon as possible. The LGL writes on its website: "Previously recommended methods such as dabbing the tick with oil, glue, nail polish or other liquids should not be used, as this may cause the tick to" vomit "its stomach contents and thereby transmit the pathogens." becomes, among other things, a pair of pointed, well-fitting tweezers that are used to grasp the bloodsucker directly above the surface of the skin and slowly pull it out.

High tick activity can last until autumn
According to the LGL, several climatic and ecological factors have an impact on the number of cases in TBE and Lyme disease. This included both the activity and life cycle of ticks, the leisure behavior of humans and the size and distribution of the mouse populations, which are host animals of ticks. "If the weather remains warm and humid this year, high tick activity can be expected well into the autumn," said the LGL spokeswoman. (ad)

Author and source information

Video: Dr. Richard Horowitz. - 2017 Lyme Conference - Presenting ideas from his latest book (August 2022).