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Little bloodsuckers: ticks are multiplying particularly strongly this year
Ticks can transmit dangerous infectious diseases such as early summer meningoencephalitis (TBE) or Lyme disease. Because of the mild winter and the warm, damp spring, the little bloodsuckers are multiplying particularly strongly this year. The higher the number of parasites, the greater the risk of illness.
There are a lot of ticks this year
Ticks are dangerous carriers of the disease. The small parasites can transmit infectious diseases such as early summer meningoencephalitis (TBE) or Lyme disease. There are a particularly large number of ticks this year. This is due to the relatively mild winter and warm, damp spring. Professor Martin Pfeffer from the Institute for Animal Hygiene at the University of Leipzig and his team have found that ticks are spreading further and further north. The Vogtlandkreis in Saxony has been a TBE risk area for a year now. The endemic area is currently the subject of research in two studies at the University of Leipzig.
Most of them become infected during leisure activities
According to doctors, 90 percent of TBE sufferers become infected during leisure activities. The disease can be severe, especially 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. "Around 70 percent of people with TBE develop inflammation of the brain, meninges or spinal cord," said Dr. Olaf Leschnik, chief physician of the clinic for neurology in the Rodewisch hospital (Vogtlandkreis) in a message. “Some patients have to learn to speak or walk again after surviving a TBE virus infection or have other lifelong disabilities. TBE cannot be treated causally. We doctors can only alleviate the symptoms, we are powerless against the virus, ”says Dr. Leschnik. Health experts advise some people to get ticks against TBE. Vaccination is recommended both to residents of high-risk areas and to people who vacation there and are out in the open.
The best way to protect against 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 sooner the disease is discovered, the better. The basic rule is to protect yourself as well as possible from ticks. 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. Hurry after a tick bite, doctors warn. Since the dangerous pathogens spread in the bloodstream eight to twelve hours after the bite, the risk of infection can be drastically reduced if you find and remove ticks early. (ad)