The fire department hermetically sealed off Steinhorst from Gifhorn from the outside world - because of an alleged epidemic. However, this turned out to be a flea bite.
Epidemic in the nursing home?
20 residents of a nursing home in Celle had red spots on the skin and itches. A doctor examined those affected and shortly afterwards suffered from the rash.
Health department informed
The home management immediately informed the health department. The responsible authorities in the Gifhorn district also learned of the incident.
Why is the village closed?
A nurse came to her home in Steinhorst after work. So there was a danger that she would introduce the "unknown plague".
Fire brigade emergency plan
80 firefighters were deployed, and parts of Steinhorst remained 4 hours of no-go area. If there is a risk of epidemics, the fire brigade must shut off and carry out a large-scale operation. Nobody knew it was just flea bites.
MHH gives the all-clear
Two affected people from the nursing home were meanwhile examined in the Hannover Medical School. The MHH gave the all-clear immediately: Fleas are uncomfortable, but they are not life-threatening.
Fleas are insects, and they already haunted the dinosaurs. The pests existed well over 100 million years ago.
There are several dozen species living in this country that feed on warm-blooded blood: hedgehogs and cats, dogs and chickens serve the parasites as hosts - as do humans.
The flea body is adapted to a life between skin and hair. The body parts cover each other like roof tiles, and the mouth is transformed into a proboscis through which the flea sucks the blood.
The flea's saliva prevents the blood from clotting. The secretions ignite and itch through these secretions. If the flea is disturbed, it will continue to hop so that the punctures line up.
Is a flea infestation like in the Celler nursing home unusual? Not at all. Due to advances in hygiene, especially with vacuum cleaners, fleas are no longer always and everywhere as they were around 1900. However, they continue to thrive in Germany: almost every cat and dog that runs around outside catches themselves at least once in a lifetime.
Lack of hygiene?
A lack of hygiene helps the fleas - but that does not mean in reverse that those responsible in the nursing home must be dirty finches: one visitor who serves the fleas as a host is enough for the parasites to spread to other people in the shortest possible time.
80 firefighters because of a woman who carries fleas around - that seems extremely exaggerated. However, neither the fire brigade nor the home management knew at the time of the operation that they were fleas. It could just as easily have been a dangerous illness. So the fire department behaved correctly. (Dr.Utz Anhalt)